T.N. gets its 18th wildlife sanctuary in the reserve forests of Erode district

The Thanthai Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Bargur Hills, Erode district, will serve as a protected corridor for the movement of tiger and elephants from the Western Ghats to the Eastern Ghats

February 01, 2024 11:44 am | Updated 01:07 pm IST - ERODE

A view of the forests in Bargur Hills in Erode district. Over 80,000 hectares of reserve forests in this region have been notified as the Thanthai Periyar Wildlife Sactuary

A view of the forests in Bargur Hills in Erode district. Over 80,000 hectares of reserve forests in this region have been notified as the Thanthai Periyar Wildlife Sactuary | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Tamil Nadu government has declared 80,114.80 hectares of reserve forests in Bargur Hills in Erode district, as the Thanthai Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. This stretch of protected forests, links the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve with Cauvery South Wildlife Sanctuary, and has been notified as the 18th wildlife sanctuary in the State.

The announcement about the setting up of the sanctuary was first made in the 2023 State Budget.

A notification issued by the Environment, Climate Change and Forests Department, G.O. (Ms) No. 19, dated January 30, 2024, said these forests occupies a prominent position in the Eastern Ghats as they merge with the Western Ghat at the Nilgiris.

The vast landscape is home to diverse flora and fauna, making it an ideal habitat for various life forms. The landscape is interconnected to the Kollegal forests of Karnataka and the Nilgiris, creating one of the most diverse habitats in the region. 

This region is part of the corridor that connects the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (STR) to the Male Mahadeshwara Hills Tiger Reserve and the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, and plays a crucial role in maintaining a viable tiger population. It is one of the tiger corridors identified by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, and is home to a number of tigers.

The region is also part of the Nilgiris Elephant Reserve and is home to a healthy population of large herbivores including elephants and the Indian Gaur. Also, the landscape is the catchment of the Palar River that drains into the Cauvery River and is a crucial source of water for agricultural activities. It is also of cultural and historical significance to tribal and local communities who depend on these ecosystems for their livelihoods and traditional practices. The Bargur Hills are a treasure trove of nature’s bounty that must be preserved and protected for future generations, the notification said. 

Forest areas covering North Bargur (47,323.50 hectares), South Bargur (24,736.80), Thamaraikarai (3,037.37), South Bargur Part 844 (2,521.28), Ennamangalam (2,269.37) and the Nagalur reserve forest area (226.48 hectares) fall under the sanctuary, while six tribal habitations and roads connecting these habitations were excluded.

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