Cyclone Gaja has inflicted severe damage on the Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary, which has been left with inundated roads, fallen trees and rows of damaged homes.
Forest officials said department staff had been unable to enter the sanctuary. The watchtower inside the sanctuary had collapsed, and many of the department’s buildings, including guest houses and staff quarters, had been damaged.
“Electric poles have been uprooted, and the staff inside the sanctuary are facing difficulties without water and electricity,” said district wildlife warden Naga Sathish Gidijala.
Though the road connecting Point Calimere with Vedaranyam town has been cleared of fallen trees, communication channels have been cut off as cell phone towers have crumbled.
“Electric poles have been uprooted, and staff could be deployed to the sanctuary for assessing the damage only after the problems of power disruption and absence of communication link are rectified,” he said.
The Forest Department is currently not in a position to give a count of animal casualties in the sanctuary, which teems with black bucks and spotted deer. Forest staff fear the number of casualties could be high. A clear picture will emerge only after a few days.