Way back in September 1986 when the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR), the first of its kind in the country, was launched and a national symposium was organised here to prepare an action plan for the conservation and management of the reserve and the proposed reserves, T.N. Seshan, the then Secretary, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, had observed that the world was on the brink of an ecological disaster and the biosphere reserve development programme launched in 234 reserves in 63 countries with UNESCO assistance was aimed at preserving the ecology and environment for the future.
To what extent his words of caution have been heeded and how much of the objective of the programme has been achieved is a matter of conjecture. However, ever since the launch, any programme relating to the NBR organised here has attracted the attention of the people particularly those keeping track of the progress of the programme.
In tune with this, a photo exhibition on the NBR put together by a wildlife and nature photographer K.B. Nagendiran at the horticulture complex here on Saturday turned out to be big draw.
It depicted through a collection of about 250 photographs taken over eight years, the rich bio diversity of the NBR including its shola-grassland ecology and its fauna.
Lauding the effort, Ashish Kumar Srivastava, conservator of Forests, who inaugurated the exhibition told The Hindu that it showcased the real beauty of the Blue Mountains.
Pictures of the breathtaking scenic spots in far flung areas of the district should be made available to tourists. Stating that the government can only facilitate, he said that the people should come forward to support the cause of the ecology.
Adverting to the reputation of the NBR being a biodiversity hot spot, Mr. Nagendran listed its attributes and added that its fauna includes over 100 species of mammals, 350 species of birds, 80 species of reptiles and amphibians, 300 species of butterflies and innumerable invertebrates, 39 species of fish and 31 amphibians.
Stating that it was also a critical catchment area of peninsular India, he said that many of the major tributaries of river Cauvery like the Bhavani, Moyar and Kabini have their source within the reserve. Conservation and management of the NBR depends to a large extent on the coordination between governmental agencies and the local people.
Pointing out that the exhibition represents the initiative of individuals to enhance awareness about the need to conserve the NBR for posterity, he said that it will be open on Sunday also.