Home to rare species of flora and fauna, some endemic to the Western ghats, the Silent Valley national park spread over 238 square kilometres in Palakkad district of Kerala, will be celebrating its ‘silver jubilee’ this month.
The park forms the core of the Nilgiri International Biosphere Reserve and is locally known as Sairandhrivanam, meaning forest in the valley.
Chief Conservator of Forests, Winston Suting, said that strict regulations have been enforced on entry of tourists, including a ban on plastics, in a bid to preserve the unique biosphere, which houses rare animals like Lion-tailed Macaque and Nilgiri Langur.
As part of the celebrations, the Kerala government plans to conduct a two-day seminar from November 15, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, T M Manoharan said.
“One seminar would be held on the first day in Palakkad, while the second day would see environmentalists who fought for getting it declared a national park share their experiences with the younger generation,” he said.
In 1970s, plans for a hydroelectric project by the state electricity board were shelved after protests by “Save Silent Valley” movement, which highlighted the dangers to the rich diversity. It was declared a national park in 1984, by late Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.
Mr. Manoharan said a special postal cover would be released on the occasion of the silver jubilee celebrations. Noted scientist and environmentalist, Satish Chandran Nair, said that there are plans to train forest officials in the region about the history of the Silent Valley.
He said a minimum of three ‘Nature Camps’ are conducted each week for students as part of awareness campaigns, where they are asked to plant seedlings. Around 5,000 students visit the Valley every year as part of the camp, he said.
Mr. Nair said that there were plans to establish six different routes to the valley, apart from the normal 24 km Mukkali-Sairandhri route. “These routes will in no way disturb natural life,” he said. Range officer (Wildlife and forests) John Mathew said nature lovers can see rare orchids like ‘Malabar Daffodil’ and the ‘Blue Tiger’ butterfly.