Staff Reporter

KOLLAM: Environmentalist K. Rajendran has sent a petition to the Central Empowered Committee of the Supreme Court stating that an increase in the water level of the Mullaperiyar Dam will submerge all the critical grassland eco-system of the Periyar Tiger Reserve.

If this happens it will eliminate the habitat of the endangered tiger population of the reserve.

In addition to the tiger, the reserve is home to the leopard, elephant, lion-tailed macaque, sloth bear, gaur and Nilgiri langur. The reserve also has 1,963 species of flowering plants of which 120 are globally threatened.

Mr. Rajendran pointed out that a study conducted by the Kerala Forest Research Institute concluded that an increase in the dam's water level to 152 feet could submerge 11.219 sq. kilometres of the reserve, mainly the grasslands. It means that if the water level rises to even 142 feet, half the grasslands of the reserve will be lost.