As the mercury rises in the Nilgiri biosphere, wild animals from adjacent sanctuaries in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu migrate to Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWLS) in search of food and water.
The sanctuary is a haven for animals like wild elephants, gaur, different species of antelopes, bears and numerous birds during the summer season. Easy availability of food and water throughout the year is the attraction of the sanctuary.
The annual migration usually begins end of February and continues till the advent of the monsoon. The forest department has taken highly structured measures to assure availability of food, water and security measures for the migrating wild guests.
Though water scarcity has not affected the sanctuary until now, two temporary check dams are being built inside the sanctuary, where the streams may dry up during summer, a forest official told The Hindu on Sunday. In case of an emergency, we have a tender machine with water storage capacity of 3000 litres and we can pump water where ever necessary, he added.
Moreover, the construction work of a new earthen dam will begin soon at Muthappankolly, an important habitat of wild elephants in Muthanga range under the WWLS at a cost of Rs. 3 lakhs, he said.
As a part of fodder management, the coarse grasslands have been trimmed to grow soft grass in the sanctuary to ensure food security for the herbivores, the officials said.
The sanctuary has been closed until March 31, in order to ensure trouble-free movement for the migrating wild animals from Muthumalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu and Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, the official said.
Besides 17 permanent anti-poaching camps and two watch towers at important strategic points inside the sanctuary, nine newly erected tree top machans (temporary watch towers) have been set up this year. Forest officials including guards and watchers have been deployed there to alert against poaching and wild fire.
Forest patrolling, led by a deputy forest range officer, has also been introduced during the season. The regular patrolling under forest range officers in four ranges under the sanctuary has been intensified. As many as 130 watchers, including 70 newly appointed temporary watchers, have been deployed inside the sanctuary. The watchers have been equipped with binoculars for observation and wireless apparatus. Free rationing is also provided to them, as they work in remote areas, the officials said.