Tamil Nadu gets 18th wildlife sanctuary in Erode district
CHENNAI — The Tamil Nadu government has declared a new reserve forest in the Bargur Hills in Erode district.
The reserve forest named ‘Thanthai Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary’ has a stretch of protected forests and links the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve with the Cauvery South Wildlife Sanctuary. This wildlife sanctuary spread across 80,114.80 hectares of land has been notified as the 18th wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu.
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 have been excluded.
It may be recalled that the Tamil Nadu government had first announced about setting up of the sanctuary in the state budget of 2023.
A notification issued by the Environment, Climate Change and Forests Department dated January 30, 2024 said these forests occupy a prominent position in the Eastern Ghats as they merge with the Western Ghats at the Nilgiris.
The vast landscape of the newly-announced sanctuary 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.
The 18th wildlife sanctuary of the state is part of the corridor that connects the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (STR) to the Male Mahadeshwara Hills Tiger Reserve and the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. This stretch plays a crucial role in maintaining a viable tiger population and is one of the tiger corridors identified by the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
The region that houses the Thanthai Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary is also part of the Nilgiris Elephant Reserve and is home to a healthy population of large herbivores, including elephants and the Indian Gaur.
This landscape is also the catchment area of 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.