By D. Radhakrishnan
With sighting of tigers in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) near here now being not as difficult as it used to be till about a year ago, the management has put in place a plan of action to step up its vigil.
Pointing out that a series of measures would be taken in a phased manner to protect the national animal, MTR Field Director K. Srivastava told The Hindu here on Saturday that chances of sighting tigers have increased because their population at Mudumalai was growing. Describing it as a welcome trend, he attributed it to the effective conservation measures implemented by the department with the help of its staff, particularly anti-poaching watchers and the local people.
Twenty anti-poaching camps and two floating camps have been set up. While the routine patrolling has been intensified, elephant patrolling has been introduced. Simultaneously habitat improvement has been taken up to ensure that the prey base is healthy. Tourism is being regulated in the area. Fixed surveillance cameras are being mounted at appropriate places.
Adverting to a scheme now under implementation to rehabilitate people residing in the core area of the MTR, Mr. Srivastava said that it would help the reserve gain about 300 hectares of grass and marshy land. Stating that direct sighting of tigers was being frequently reported, he said: “A heartening feature is that many of them are sub-adults and cubs.” He added that over the last two years, 27 direct sightings had been reported.
Union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh and the Wildlife Institute of India have acknowledged the development. Due to better management practices, the population of other animals had also gone up. The number of elephants now is 1,000 against 835 last year, he said.