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TN forest department to identify elephant corridors in newly declared reserve

- July 8, 2022

Chennai, July 8(BPNS)

Tamil Nadu forest department officials have commenced preparing Detailed project reports (DPR) to identify elephant corridors in the newly declared Agasthyarmalai Elephant Reserve.

It is to be noted that the Union Ministry for Environment has cleared the Tamil Nadu Forest department’s proposal to declare 1197. 48 sq km of forest land in Kanniyakumari and Tirunelveli districts as Agasthyarmalai Elephant Reserve.

The state forest department is busy preparing the DPR as once a forest area is notified as Elephant Reserve,it will get funding under Project Elephant.

A senior official with the Tamil Nadu forest department while speaking to IANS said, “ Even as the Union Environment Ministry has declared this 1197. 48 sq km area spread across Kanniyakumari and Tirunelveli districts Elephant reserve only on Wednesday, the area is already protected as a forest reserve or a wildlife sanctuary.”

He said that the Elephant Reserve status will focus on conservation and protection of elephants as indicator species and representing a healthy ecosystem.

The state forest department officials said that the Periyar –Agasthiyamalai area is estimated to have,1800 elephants based on the Elephant census of 2010.  The elephant population in this belt is spread across Agasthyamalai and Mahendragiri ranges.

With the declaration of forest land in Kanniyakumari and Tirunelveli districts into Agasthyarmalai Elephant Reserve, forest department of Tamil Nadu is expected to take more care of the elephant population as more staff and infrastructure could be deployed. With the Project Elephant being central funding routed through the state government, the forest department expects that there won’t be shortage of resources for the proposed elephant corridor and maintaining elephant population.

Prevention of Man- Animal conflict will be one of the major areas to be focused by the Tamil Nadu forest department as far as the new elephant reserve is concerned.