Andhra Pradesh

Seshachalam Hills to have tigers soon

A tiger caught in the camera trap installed in Lankamalleswara wildlife sanctuary.

A tiger caught in the camera trap installed in Lankamalleswara wildlife sanctuary.  

Big cats are expected to move from Lankamalleswara wildlife sanctuary in two to three years

Bustling with rich biodiversity in the form of rare endemic flora and fauna, the Seshachalam Hills will soon be home to tigers.

The nearest tiger zone is Lankamalleswara wildlife sanctuary in Kadapa district and the tigers are expected to move to the contiguous Seshachalam, if the green corridor under development takes shape. Seshachalam did have tigers in the past, going by mythology, folklore and forest records. According to forest sources, a tiger was last sighted in Mamandur area between 1985 and 90 .

The sanctuary is home to four tigers. Considered inhabitants of Srisailam, they have made this sanctuary their transient home as one of them is breeding. A thin corridor between Seshachalam and Lankamalleswara exists at the backwaters of Somasila. Once the green cover is improved, the tigers are expected to enter Veligonda hills, Settigunta area of Kadapa and finally Mamandur near Tirupati. A tiger can move over a territorial distance of 100 km and make the new place its home, thanks to its genetic memory.

To ensure smooth movement, the State is contemplateing notifying an official tiger corridor spread over 3,000 hectares.

“We can see tiger movement here in two to three years,” Deputy Conservator of Forest B.N.N. Murthy told The Hindu. Mr. Murthy, currently with the redsanders taskforce, had played a key role during his previous stint in Kadapa district in getting the Siddavatam-Badvel road in Lankamalleswara closed during nights for the safety of nocturnal animals.

Sri Venkateswara National Park, the core area of Seshachalam, is a highly protected area sans villages and is hence sacrosanct to human activity. It is reckoned the best national park in the State, in terms of green cover with veritable grass/tree species, dense foliage and healthy animal population. Though no official census was taken, the spotted deer and sambhar population reportedly rose by 25 p.c. over the previous year in Tirumala forest, considered a ‘very encouraging’ trend.

A noteworthy feature is Seshachalam’s unique ecosystem that supports all forms of living system. The sambhar and the deer have opulent food supply. Naturally, the number of primary predators like leopards and the secondary ones like dholes (wild dogs) has increased in recent times.

It is this green cover that is expected to attract tigers, which are choosy in selecting their home. Forest officials expect it to happen sooner than later.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 12:24:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/Seshachalam-Hills-to-have-tigers-soon/article17051879.ece

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