Srivilliputhur – Megamalai Tiger Reserve and Vaigai River: Tamil Nadu
The recently announced Srivilliputhur – Megamalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu will provide protection to the Megamalai, the primary catchment of Vaigai, as well as help in raising the water level in the river.
- The Vaigai River originates from the Varusanadu Hills in the Western Ghats, passing through the ‘Pandya Nadu’ region of Tamil Nadu.
- Its major tributaries are Suruliyaru, Mulaiyaru, Varaganadhi, Manzalaru, Kottagudi, Kridhumaal and Upparu.
- The length of the Vaigai river is 258 km, which runs from the Varusanadu Hills and finally falls into the Palk Strait near the Pamban bridge in Ramanathapuram district.
- The Vaigai River flowed through Madurai, the famous capital of the ancient Pandya kingdom of the 4th-11th century AD in southern Tamil Nadu, which is also mentioned in the Sangam literature.
- Mainly this river ensures the facility of drinking water in 5 districts of Theni, Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Sivagangai and Dindigul of Tamil Nadu. Along with this, about 2,00,000 hectares of agricultural land of this state is irrigated by this river.
- The flow of this river began to decline from the end of the eighteenth century, as the British began deforestation of the Megamalai area, which serves as a major catchment area for the Vaigai River. As a result, the flow of water in the river gradually decreased.
- About 200,000 people died in this region during the severe famine of 1876-77. After this famine, the British Crown proposed to connect the Periyar River in Kerala with the Vaigai River through a tunnel.
- At present, Vaigai river gets about 80 percent of its water from the Periyar Dam. The remaining 20 per cent meets the major catchment area of the Megamalai region during the northeast monsoon season.
- Thus the recently announced ‘Srivilliputhur-Megamalai Tiger Reserve’ will protect wild animals and natural forests as well as their habitats, which act as catchment areas.
Srivilliputhur-Megamalai Tiger Reserve:
- This Tiger Reserve was declared jointly by both the Central and Tamil Nadu governments in the year
- The Megamalai Wild Life Sanctuary and the adjoining Srivilliputhur Wildlife Sanctuary were clubbed together for the Megamalai Tiger Reserve. This Tiger Reserve is the 5th Tiger Reserve of Tamil Nadu and the 51st Tiger Reserve of India.
- The major animals in the ecological diversity found here are Bengal Tiger, Elephant, Gaur, Indian Giant Squirrel, Leopard, Nilgiri Tahr etc.
- Tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, dry deciduous forests and moist mixed deciduous forests and grasslands are found in this forest area.
Other four tiger reserves of Tamil Nadu:
- Anamalai Tiger Reserve
- Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve
- Mudumalai Tiger Reserve
- Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve
Source : The Hindu