Sathyamangalam Forest in Erode district has been declared a Tiger Reserve. It is the fourth such reserve in Tamil Nadu. The three other tiger reserves are at Mudumalai in the Nilgiris district, Anamalai in Coimbatore districtand Kalakad-Mundanthurai in Tirunelveli district.
The Forest Department has received the Government Order declaring Sathyamangalam Forests as a tiger reserve, and the Union government has also notified it, Conservator of Forests, Erode circle, A. Venkatesh told The Hindu over the phone on Monday.
The government has earmarked 1.40 lakh hectares for the exclusive protection zone for the big cats. Of the total area, the core zone comprises over 90,000 hectares.
“Sathyamangalam is home to at least 25 tigers, which has been confirmed by various studies conducted by our department and the World Wildlife Fund. The population is healthy and growing,” Mr. Venkatesh said.
The presence of a good number of tigers in the region was confirmed during the recent wildlife census, as well. Enumerators found marks left by tigers in many areas in this region.
The scat study conducted by the department also indicated the presence of 18 to 25 tigers in the region.
“The creation of a tiger reserve will lead to total habitat improvement and improve the flora and fauna in the entire region. The wildlife managers will be able to ensure greater protection to the big cats. The purpose of the initiative is to protect, propagate and improve wildlife and its environment,” Mr. Venkatesh said.
The region has a unique environment where elephants, tigers, black bucks, hyenas and vultures co-exist. The elephant population in the region is estimated to be around 1,200. The region also witnesses a healthy growth in the vulture population, forest officials here said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Venkatesh said, the Forest Department would not evict people living inside the tiger reserve. “There will be no forceful eviction. The livelihood of the forest dwellers will not be disturbed due to the creation of exclusive zone for tigers,” he said.