Located in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu and spread over 321 sq.km. in the tri-junction of three states, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve is home to over 60 tigers and several varieties of animals like elephants, the Indian Gaur, panthers, sambars, spotted deer, barking deer, Mouse Deer, common langurs, Malabar Giant Squirrel, wild dogs, mongoose, jungle cats, etc.
The name Mudumalai itself means ‘the ancient hill range,’ true to its history of over 65 million years dating back to the time the Western Ghats were formed.
And now this very tiger reserve is all set to get bigger, all thanks to the forest department which has decided to annex over 367.59 sq km reserve forests, making the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve more than twice its size.
The existing area of 321 sq km would be more than doubled by 114% making it nearly 690 sq km. The handover and annexation of the reserve forest attached to the Nilgiris north division to the MTR will happen in a few weeks; state forest authorities told the Times of India.
This move by the Tamil Nadu government will encourage a better natural habitat not only for tigers but also all other animal species. With the increase in the area, stringent laws and restrictions to protect the tiger reserve will also come into place encouraging conservation of dwindling species.
The annexation will make three ranges from the north division including Seigur, Singara and Thengumarahadda, a part of the reserve. Since these ranges have already recorded the existence of four predators including tiger, leopard, hyena and wild dog in the past, it is likely to spot these predators in the newly annexed zone more than the existing tiger reserve.
“While the National Tiger Conservation Authority allocates funds for the tiger reserve, a similar fund allocation is done separately for the buffer zone. Once the buffer zone also comes under the MTR, the administration could be easy and better,” said Srinivas R Reddy, field director of MTR and the Mukurthi National Park told the publication.
Even though the reserve shares its boundaries with two other states, ie. Karnataka and Kerala, the administration will now come under a single entity combining the core and the buffer zones. This will help maintain wildlife integrity and enable the animal movement to be easier and stress-free, Srinivas Reddy said.
Clarifying the concerns of bona fide residents of the buffer zone about the disturbance, he said that relocation would happen only in the core areas and the real residents will not be disturbed.