Sathyamangalam will be the State's fourth tiger reserve with the government promising to create a new reserve for the big cats spread over 1.40 lakh hectares from the present sanctuary limits.
Replying to the discussion on the demands for grants for the Forest Department, Minister K.T. Pachamal said that the government notified 1,41,161 hectares of reserve forests in Sathyamangalam as a wildlife sanctuary in August 2011.
To protect the sanctuary and the tiger habitat, it decided to create the fourth tiger reserve on 1,40,924 hectares through notification. The State has three tiger reserves in Mudumalai, Anaimalai and Kalakad-Mundanthurai. The tiger count in the State at present is 163 and the number is steadily going up in the Sathyamangalam reserve forests.
A forest research centre would be established at Vandalur Arignar Anna Zoological Park at a cost of Rs.34.24 crore with the State's own funds. This would be expanded with financial assistance from the Centre and upgraded to a Rs.74.37 crore research facility.
A butterfly park would be created near Srirangam at a cost of Rs.8.67 crore on a 10 hectares in the Upper Anicut reserve forest.
To prevent man-animal conflict, Rs.10 crore would be spent in seven districts this year from the allotted Rs.44.13 crore for four years beginning this fiscal. The Chief Minister had given consent for new legislation to prevent the felling of trees in non-forest areas, including government lands such as roadsides. A committee would be formed to ensure that ten trees were planted for every tree cut.