Tamil Nadu gets its seventeenth wildlife sanctuary – ‘Cauvery South Wildlife Sanctuary’

In its latest step for wildlife conservation, the government of Tamil Nadu has notified a ‘Cauvery South Wildlife Sanctuary’.

The sanctuary area – notified under Section 26A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 – comprises approximately 686 square kilometers (sq km) of forest reserve area under Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts.

It was announced in April this year that this sanctuary would be notified, although at the time the designated area was around 200 km2 less.

The Seventeenth Wildlife Sanctuary of Tamil Nadu is home to no less than 35 species of mammals and 238 species of birds.

This includes animals like the Leith softshell turtle, grizzled giant squirrel, smooth-coated otter, four-horned antelope and mugger crocodile, all of which rely almost exclusively on the Cauvery River and its riparian forest ecosystem and need preservation.

“This milestone along with the missions of the TN Green Climate Company will go a long way towards conserving the rich biodiversity of our state,” Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin said in a statement.

Tamil Nadu is already home to a Cauvery North Wildlife Sanctuary. The neighboring state of Karnataka has a Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. The notified new sanctuary will link these two existing sanctuaries to form, according to the government, “a vast contiguous network of wildlife protected areas”.

This wider area is an important home for elephants and tigers, among other wildlife, especially species that rely on the Cauvery River.

It extends to the Nilgiri Biosphere through Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary, Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Tiger Reserve and Bannerghatta National Park in Karnataka, and Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Erode District in Tamil Nadu.

The Tamil Nadu government has been quite proactive when it comes to wildlife conservation.

“The Herculean efforts of the Tamil Nadu Forest Department to establish and manage critical protected #forest areas over the years are commendable. Over 20% of the geographical area of ​​Tamil Nadu is under forest cover and home to rich #biodiversity,” the Wildlife Conservation Trust.

Conservation efforts by the South Indian state over the past 16 months include the notification of Kazhuveli Bird Sanctuary in Villupuram, Agasthiarmalai Elephant Reserve and Bird Sanctuary of Nanjarayan reservoir in Tirupur, as well as the inclusion of 13 wetlands in the Ramsar list.

Last month, Tamil Nadu notified India’s first sanctuary dedicated to the slender loris, called the Kadavur Slender Loris Sanctuary.

About three weeks earlier, the state government had notified a dugong conservation reserve at Palk Bay.

The latest move is the November 8 notification from the Cauvery South Wildlife Sanctuary.

“The BNHS is indebted to Thiru MK Stalin and the entire forest bureaucracy of Tamil Nadu for declaring South Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. While ensuring the ecological integrity of this landscape, your action will support TN’s agriculture and economy,” the Bombay Natural History Society said in a statement.

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