Tamil Nadu has finally declared the Tirunelveli forests and Ousteri Lake as Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary. The announcement was made in the assembly on Monday by Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. It is to be noted that Ousteri and Tirunelveli forest will be the 15th bird sanctuary in the state of Tamil Nadu.
The wildlife rich state Tamil Nadu houses 5 national parks, 14 wildlife sanctuaries and 14 bird sanctuaries. According to reports the area falling outside Kalakkad Mundanthurai Wildlife Sanctuary i.e Tirunelveli forests and the Ousteri Lake was waiting the approval from the government for a long period. Let us learn about this 15th bird and wildlife sanctuary in detail; so that the next time you are in Tamil Nadu you do not miss out on visiting this exotic place.
Tirunelveli forests are ecotones as they are found between dry deciduous and evergreen forests. The canopy height here varies from 20 to 28 m and the forest receives good rainfall during the monsoons. The average rainfall recorded in the region is from 1500 mm to 2000 mm. Tirunelveli forest is unique and is sprawling on a narrow strip on the Papanasam hills between moist deciduous forests and southern tropical wet evergreen forest in the Papanasam R.F and Kalakad R.F. The elevation of ranges varies from 250 to 500 m and sometimes reaches up to 1000 m. When it comes to flora, orchids are the most common plant species found here along with climbers and canes, their abundance increasing with increase in the altitude.
Home to 20,000 migratory birds among which 40 are counted as the rare species, Ousteri Lake in Tamil Nadu is spread over an area of 390 hectares. Some portion of the lake also falls in the Puducherry Union Territory ,which had been declared as the wildlife sanctuary in the year 2008. Since a large portion of the lake fell in Tamil Nadu’s territory not much could be done for the conservation and protection of the Lake. Poaching was common and resulted in decline in the number of birds in the area. It is to be noted that Ousteri Lake has been recognized as one of the 93 significant wetlands in Asia by the Asian Wetland Bureau.
Seems like Tamil Nadu government has rolled up its sleeves to make this bird and wildlife sanctuary a safer place. According to reports Anaimali Tiger Sanctuary and Mudumalai Tiger Sanctuary will be converted into ‘Upgraded Wildlife Management Training Centres’. Also posts of forests, forest rangers and forest warden will also be filled in the state. The government has also declared to invest Rs 35.62 crore for the maintenance of the forest areas.
What would be more beneficial is a unison project handled by both Tamil Nadu and Puducherry government with the intent of safeguarding this newly recognized wildlife reserve. Apparently, the efforts made by Puducherry government are worth appreciating as they have made their portion of the lake litter-free, no-horn and plastic-free zone. They have further proposed to set up a three-floor interpretation centre and installation of two telescopes for watching birds. Regulation on the movement of public and private vehicles around the lake in order to make the region friendlier for the migratory birds and a creation of small park and a walking path around the lake have also been proposed by the Puducherry government. Well, we hope for a better tourism facility and safe environment for wildlife in this reserve and wish this bird and wildlife sanctuary NEW PINCH and the very BEST OF LUCK!