TIRUNELVELI: Capitalising on its scientists' priceless research experience gained over the past two decades on the fauna and flora of Kalakkad – Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KTMR), Bangalore-based Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) has come out with a comprehensive bilingual nature guide on this sanctuary.

The KMTR, which is located in the southernmost tip of the Western Ghats, is unique in many ways as it boasts of a large patch of contiguous and undisturbed stretch of evergreen forests seen nowhere else in this range.

It is not only the southernmost habitat of the tiger, but also a treasure trove of a suite of rare plants and animals, which fascinated the British naturalists during the pre-independence era and is still attracting hundreds of research scholars and lovers of nature from across the globe.

Based on their research experiences at the reserve, ATREE's scientists T. Ganesh, M. Soubadra Devy and R. Ganesan and research scholar Jahnavi Pai have come out with this informative guide, christened ‘Treasures on Tiger Tracks,' which is intended to make people realise that this forest, only known as a tiger sanctuary, also is home to many other interesting species, which cannot be seen elsewhere.

The guide takes us to all the important locales and trails that dissect the sanctuary in the different types of forests. A layman, who walks on the trail, can easily identify what trees are around, which of the birds are chirping and what butterflies are flirting by.

They can also identify the croaking frogs and the slithering snakes.

If a little more observant, they can encounter some of the elusive mammals they could have never imagined, apart from the tiger.

Excellent photographs of the fauna and flora, handpicked from some of the best collections, easily narrate the size, habit and behaviour of animals.

The guide attempts to build the language gap, where the Tamil speaking readers can pick the English names and vice versa, as the authors have filtered the scientific jargon and made it very friendly for all users.

Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday, his colleague R. Ganesan said the KMTR, one of the 34 biodiversity hotspots across the world, will be understood in a better fashion, thanks to the information provided in the guide, which is to be released by Collector M. Jayaraman on Friday. Field Director of KMTR A. Ramkumar will receive the first copy.

Though the guide has been priced at Rs. 750, good number of copies will be sold at 50 per cent discount only for a few days at Higginbothams. “Moreover, we've planned to give this guide free of cost to all schools on the periphery of KMTR,” said Dr. Soubadra Devy.