Parambikulam WLS is now Tiger Reserve?
Parambikulam sanctuary gets a new status
PALAKKAD: The Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary will be declared a tiger reserve by Union Minister of Forests and Environment Jairam Ramesh at a function to be held at Aanapadi here on Friday.Forest Minister Benoy Viswom will preside over the meet.The Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary spans over an area of 285 sq km and the tiger reserve comprises 235 sq km of the sanctuary and areas from the adjacent forest divisions of Nemmara, Vazhachal and Chalakudy.Of the 643.662 sq km of the tiger reserve, 390.89 sq km comprises the core zone and 252.77 km the buffer zone.Since the year 2010 has been declared as the International Biodiversity Year, the declaration of the tiger reserve is an important step in protecting this biodiversity.The Parambikulam sanctuary will become the second tiger reserve in the state after Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekkady. It will be the 38th tiger reserve in the country.An expert committee has also been constituted with the chief conservator of forests (wildlife) as chairman and two scientists Easa and Balasubramaniam as members. They had submitted a report to the government identifying 235 sq km of the Parambikulam sanctuary as tiger reserve.A portion of the sanctuary was notified as the core area on December 31, 2007. The areas of housing the dam and the colonies were excluded from the core area. Later, the committee held hearings on including the contiguous area, which is rich in biodiversity, in the core area.Interactions were also held with the local people, tribals, panchayat authorities, workers and owners of the plantations in the area. The core area was fixed as 390.88 sq km and that was notified on December 16, 2009.The buffer zone, which encompasses 11 tribal colonies, was notified subsequently.The Rosary, Cliff View, Beatrice and Thoothanpara estates in Nelliampathy which were taken over by the government, will continue to be under the Forest Department. The declaration of the sanctuary as a tiger reserve will entitle the sanctuary to additional financial assistance.The sanctuary receives an annual financial assistance based on the works it has proposed to undertake as per the management plan. But tiger conservation being one of the priority areas of the Centre, the sanctuary will be entitled to additional funds, once it is declared a tiger reserve.The sanctuary is home to many endangered and endemic species. It is the habitat of 1,500 flowering species, 39 mammals, 49 types of fish, 32 reptiles, 16 amphibians, 61 orchids and 2 6 8 birds.