By Binoy Valsan
COIMBATORE: In an attempt to ensure that wild animals venturing out of the thick forest areas to the banks of Aliyar reservoir to drink water during the summer months do not end up as easy targets for poachers, forest department officials along with fisheries officials have started regular boat patrolling in Anamalai Tiger Reserve. The initiative is being seen as an indication that the Tamil Nadu jungles are heading for yet another harsh summer spell. However, officials claimed that it would take another 15 to 20 days to make the initial assessment about the water availability before the summer season sets in beginning March.
"We have started joint boat patrol in Aliyar areas to ensure the safety of the animals including carnivores that are expected to venture out of the jungle cover looking for water," said Rajiv K Srivastava, field director, Anamalai Tiger Reserve.
The forest officials have been mulling the procurement of a boat so that they could use it to access inner forest areas rather than circumventing the river, leading to time loss while responding to any emergency in the wild. As of now, the forest department officials along with fisheries department are on joint patrol which will be similar to the perambulating exercise done on foot in the jungle. A team of two to three anti poaching watchers on the instructions of Rajiv K Srivastava along with fisheries department officials will be part of the boat patrolling exercise which is expected to be done twice a day.
According to Muhammed Shabab, Assistant Conservator of forest (Pollachi), patrolling will be intensified along the main water bodies in the reserve ahead of the summer to ensure protection of wild animals heading out towards the reservoir water. The fisheries department is presently engaged in a major pisciculture initiative in the water, rearing mainly native fish varieties.