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‘Students should become eco warriors’

D. Radhakrishnan
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S. Balaji, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, handing over prize to a student at the Wildlife Week celebrations in Udhagamandalam on Friday.- Photo: M. Sathyamoorthy
S. Balaji, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, handing over prize to a student at the Wildlife Week celebrations in Udhagamandalam on Friday.- Photo: M. Sathyamoorthy

With a call to students to become ‘Eco Warriors’, the curtain came down on the Forest Department’s Wildlife Week celebrations here on Friday.

Delivering the valedictory address, the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Tea Plantation Corporation, S. Balaji, said that children should lead by example by not littering public places.

Urging them to think globally and act locally, he said that though the easy access to information has made it possible to know about things like the total number of animal and plant species in the world, it is imperative to know, “what is at our doorsteps”. Underscoring the need to adopt the policy of, ‘live and let live’, he said that haphazard development has led to an escalation in man-wild animal conflict.

The pressure is bound to increase, he cautioned. People should live in harmony with nature and to ensure food security focus should be on increasing productivity.

Pointing out that the seven lakh hectares under forests in the State has improved over the last two decades, Dr. Balaji said that it was thanks to the efforts of forest staff.

Field Director, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Raghuram Singh said that the future of mankind depends on the conservation of biodiversity rich places like the Nilgiris.

As many as 132 plant species are endemic to the Nilgiris.

The Project Director, Hill Area Development Programme, Srinivas R. Reddy, said that awareness should be created among the tourists about the ecological importance of the Nilgiris. Pollution directly affected wild animals. Collector (in charge), L. Nirmalraj, said that the people should ensure that forest areas remain litter free. Chief Education Officer, R. Balamurali, also spoke.

Dr. Balaji distributed prizes and certificates to students who had excelled in the competitions organised as part of the celebrations.

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