Staff Reporter

Nagercoil: The population of elephants in the Western Ghat has increased as per the recent survey taken by a team including officials from the Department of Forest, college students and environmentalists, according to District Forest Officer, Sundara Raju.

Speaking to presspersons here on Monday he said that the increase in the population of elephant in the forest areas of Kanyakumari district was due to heavy rain, which lashed various parts of the district recently. Moreover, as the district was situated in the border of Kerala, elephants from there could be migrated in search of water and food. Earlier, the Department of Forest had identified only 21 elephants in the district as per the last census. Now, the team members recorded 55 more elephants.

The district forest officer has also appealed the tribal of the district to preserve the identity of elephants (including dwarf elephants).

Of the total forest area, around 41,000 hectares was being maintained as wild life sanctuary with an intention to preserve wild life, flora and fauna.

The Kanyakumari forest division was declared a wild life sanctuary in 2002.

The Department of Forest along with other well-wishers used to take wildlife census every year. In the current year a 60-member team took wild life census for three days from March 14 at Kanyakumari forest division, including Boothapandi, Kulasekaram, Kaliyal, Velimalai and Azagiyapandipuram.

As per the census there were 6 tigers, 8 cheetahs, 76 elephants, 23 sloth bears, 178 wild dogs, 6 foxes, 251 sambars, 775 monkeys, 11 ant-eaters, 484 wild bores, 41 ponkudine, 280 nilgri langur, 210 hanuman langur, 28 lion tailed macaque, 14 taddy cats, 9 pythons, 6 gopras, 22 peacocks, 2 slender lorries, 15 eagles, 6 malabar hcorntill, 78 jungle squirrels, 105 jungle fowls, 1 king gopra etc. However, the survey team could not identify not even a single Lion in the Western Ghats, said the DFO.

He further pointed out that excellent wetlands in Kanyakumari district must be preserved and declared as sanctuaries as thousands of resident and migratory birds flock annually.

The fresh water wetland included those at Suchindram, Theroor, Putheri, Chunkankadai, Vembanur, Irachakulam, Kothandaramankulam, Sengulam and Veerani in Kanyakumari district should be preserved.