Karthik Madhavan

ERODE: Wildlife conservation in Sathyamangalam forests has received the much-needed fillip after the Government of India declared a portion of the area as a sanctuary.

The Government has brought in 52,434.94 ha of the total 1,45,530.92 ha in the Sathyamangalam forests, which is a good 36 per cent of the area.

The sanctuary areas comprise the Thalavady range (Palayam, Belathur, Gettavadi) and Bhavani Sagar range (Thengumarahada, a part of Thalamalai, Gejalatti, and Peerkadavu, entire Kothamangalam and a part of Bannari), which are spread over 22, 325.63 ha.

The second is the Guthiyalathur and Guthiyalathur extension, which comprises Sathyamangalam range (Thimbam, Vadavalli, Chickarasampalayam, Kondappanaicken Palayam and Kembanaiken Palayam) and T.N. Palayam (a part of Kadambur forests, Vilankombai, Kongarpalayam, a part of Kovilur, entire Bungalow Pudur, Kanackampalayam and a part of Kundri).

The area is about 30,109.31 ha.

The forest area the Government has declared a sanctuary is strategically important in the sense that it connects Western Ghats with Eastern Ghats and comes under the elephant migratory path.

District Forest Officer S. Ramasubramanian points out that during the migratory season elephants in and around Nilgiris pass through the region to Bandipur and neighbouring sanctuary and vice versa.

Conservator of Forests P. Durairasu says the area protected is rich in Black Buck, an endangered species, which too can be conserved.

Raman Sukumar, professor and chairman, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, says it will lead to the conservation of a very important Asian elephant habitat.

“The area has a population of about 6,000 Asian elephants, the highest in the continent. Further, as the area falls under the migratory corridor connecting Bandipur, Nagarhole with Wayanad and neighbouring areas, it is important to preserve the area,” says the author of The Living Elephants: Evolutionary Ecology, Behaviour and Conservation.

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