Friday, June 6, 2014

Rules of a wildlife sanctuary decoded for forest officials.

Updated: June 5, 2014 10:27 IST
A view of the mesmerising Meghamalai.
Special Arrangement A view of the mesmerising Meghamalai.

“Keep an eye on the population of the wildlife and take pride in conservation”

Not many in Madurai know that the Regional Passport Officer S. Manishwar Raja has had a six year stint chasing lions in Gir National Park in Gujarat.
At a function organised by the State Forest Department in association with Vanam, an NGO, Mr. Raja said that “dedication” was the word to be adhered to by forest personnel in a wildlife sanctuary.
In his address to forest officials assembled here on a sensitisation drive on Tuesday evening, Mr. Raja, an IFS officer, narrated a story from his Gir days.
“One night at about 8 p.m., a lion cub was found stranded. From the time we received information, we went around looking at groups of lions to identify the group to which the cub belonged. Only at 9 a.m. the next day, we were able to locate the correct group. None in the team slept. It did not end there. We had to make sure that the cub was welcomed in that group and the mother started taking care of it. So we waited till 9 p.m. that night and left after convinced that it was a happy reunion…”
Unlike here, the biotic pressure around the Gir National Park was tremendous and the forest officials were always on the move to solve problems one after another, he said asking the wildlife officials in the Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary to be dedicated and on their toes to meet any emergency situation. In 2011, the State government carved out the Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, nestled amidst Periyar Tiger Reserve, Cumbum and Varusanadu Valleys in Theni district.
“A dream has come true with the creation of the wildlife sanctuary. Now, the forest officials should shift their approach from target-oriented tasks to wildlife culture,” said Sanjayan Kumar, Deputy Director, Periyar Tiger Reserve.
Noting that the Periyar Tiger Reserve provided a healthy eco-system for the big cats to thrive, he said the spill-over population was bound to venture into the Meghamalai and Srivilliputhur sanctuaries in due course of time.
Camping culture
“The forests in Meghamalai sanctuary is best suited to be the home for the tigers,” he said urging the forest officials to take to ‘camping culture’ wherein the officials should camp inside the forests and keep an eye on the population of the wildlife and take pride in conservation.
“The forest officials should know each and every species in the wild in their jurisdiction and monitor their population very closely,” he said.
Theni District Forest Officer and wildlife warden of the sanctuary Sornappan and Vanam Managing Trustee Dr. C.P. Rajkumar participated.

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