The Government of India (GoI) has approved the Srivilliputhur-Meghamalai Tiger Reserve (SMTR) in Tamil Nadu (TN), it will be TN’s 5th Tiger Reserve and the Largest ever Tiger Reserve in the state. It is also India’s 51st Tiger Reserve. SMTR is spread over an area of 1 Lakh Hectares and encloses lands which fall under the Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary & Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS).
- The approval for setting up SMTR was given by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) under Section 38 V(1) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- Meghamalai WLS covers the district of Theni & Madurai and Srivilliputhur WLS lies along the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala.
- Forest Officials have identified around 14 Tigers in Meghamalai and Srivilliputhur Wildlife Sanctuaries.
Continuous Stretch for Conservation of Tigers:
SMTR will serve as a link between Meghamalai WLS and Srivilliputhur WLS and further connect it with Tirunelveli WLS & Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve making it a continuous corridor for conservation of tigers.
Rejuvenation of Vaigai River:
Apart from helping in conservation of Tigers, SMTR will also help in rejuvenation of Vaigai river by protecting its origin in the Forests.
- The river Vaigai originates from the Varusanadu Hills of Western Ghats.
Declaration of Tiger Reserves:
Tiger Reserves are declared by NTCA via Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006 under the scheme ‘Project Tiger’.
- In order to declare an area as Tiger Reserve, State Governments should forward their proposals to NTCA.
Tamil Nadu’s First Tiger Reserve – Kalakkad Mundanthurai created between 1988 and 1989.
The 4th Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu is Sathyamangalam which was formed between 2013 and 2014.
About Tamil Nadu:
Lakes – Kaliveli Lake (Recently in News), Veeranam Lake, Berijam Lake
Tiger Reserves – Anamalai, Kalakad Mundanthurai, Mudumalai, Sathyamangalam