‘Tiger population in the reserve has gone up by about 50 per cent in the last five years'
Conservation efforts at Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR), near here, are laudable, observed Khadi Board Minister K.Ramachandran while participating in the Wildlife Week celebrations organised by the Forest Department here on Thursday.
Pointing out that the MTR was playing a commendable role not only in conserving tigers but also in extending various facilities to the people residing in and around it, he said that it was not affecting anyone and the people should be proud of it.
Over the last five years the tiger population in the reserve had gone up by about 50 per cent and the Karunanidhi Government had been appreciated for it.
While the forest cover in the State was around 17.5 per cent it was about 64 per cent in the Nilgiris and the total green cover extended over about 80 per cent.
Averring that it was the duty of all to protect the forests, Mr.Ramachandran said that they should be passed on in their original state to the coming generations.
All must cultivate the habit of planting saplings on their birthdays.
The Nilgiris Collector, Archana Patnaik, who presided, highlighted the importance of the district and said that it was the responsibility of all to safeguard it. She urged the students to expose the people who degraded its environment.
MTR Field Director Rajiv K.Srivastava appealed to the people to supplement the efforts of the Forest Department in conserving the woods and grasslands of the Nilgiris.
Superintendent of Police S.Kaliraj Mahesh Kumar said that wild animals should be allowed to lead a dignified life.
He regretted that on account of their habitat shrinking monkeys were now begging on the roads.
Ooty MLA B.Gopalan said that nothing should be done to disturb the lifestyle of wild animals. Coonoor MLA A.Soundarapandian said that every aspect of nature was important.
Green campaigner Geetha Srinivasan regretted that the Guinness Park, which had been created near here a few years ago, was in a state of neglect.
It should be restored to its original state.
NSS Programme Officer, Government Arts College, Azhagar Ramanujam said that students should help prevent bush fires and protect sholas. Chairman of Udhagamandalam Municipal Council R.Rajendran recalled the contribution of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in protecting the forests of the country.
District Forest Officer, the Nilgiris South, Yogesh Singh welcomed the gathering. District Forest Officer, the Nilgiris North, K.Soundarapandian proposed a vote of thanks.
The Minister distributed prizes and certificates to students who had excelled in various competitions organised as part of the celebrations. A rally marked the occasion.