The wild forest inferno that devastated thousands of hectares of forest lands in the Seshachalam forests during the past couple of days has raised serious doubts with regard to the endurance of the rich bio-diversity found in the region.

The Seshachalam forest ranges spread over an area of 4,755 square kilometres is not only rich in plant diversity but is also home to many endangered animals which is why it has been declared a bio-diversity sphere in the year 2010. The region also is a domicile for hundreds of natural springs and waterfalls.

The devastating fire stated to be one of the fiercest in the recent times also has questioned the survival of over 1,700 species belonging to 178 families of vascular plants that exists in the region besides 178 species of birds some of them very rare thriving in the forests.

The unforeseen forest fire has also exposed the officials’ apathy in protecting the rich bio-diversity available in the region.

It remains a fact that no initiative has been taken in constructing the ‘fire zones’ and ‘fire protecting walls’ which remain the distinctive feature of a bio-sphere during the past four to five years.

No efforts were being made in setting-up watch towers to identify the impending fire disasters in the region. In addition to all the flaws the department is also plagued with shortage in the staff.

Lack of coordination

Further adding to the problem is the lack of co-ordination between the TTD and the forest staff – which is also being seen as one of the major reasons for the reported slackness in combating the fires in their early stages and rampant smuggling activities.

Environmentalists express serious apprehensions with regard to the survival of the globally threatened yellow-throated Bulbul Pcynonotus, Xantholaemus, Pompadour Green Pigeon, Terron Pompadore – a bird generally found in the Himalayan region besides the large Hawk-cuckoo Hierococcyx Sparverioides found in the region in the back drop of such unchecked fire disasters.

Even though the forest officials remain tight-lipped with regard to the immediate loss of flora and fauna in the recent wild fire episode that ravaged great parts of Tirumala forests in particular they however on condition of anonymity confess that such bushfires if remained unchecked will have a serious impact on the rich bio-diversity in the region.

Over 1,700 species belonging to 178 families of vascular plants exists in the region besides 178 species of birds, some of them very rare, thriving in the forests