Call to protect Meghamalai

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The Meghamalai hills have been declared as wildlife sanctuary under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. But the requisite administrative machinery and men are not in place.

The forming of wildlife division has been notified and comes into force April 16, so, a wildlife warden has to be appointed at the earliest to protect the forest cover.

There is unchecked poaching and encroachments, but not many provisions are made by the department to protect the pristine area, opine wildlife sources.

“The Meghamalai wildlife division is the one and only catchment area for the Vaigai river, which satisfies the water requirements of 90 lakh people in five southern districts, including Theni, Dindigul, Madurai, Sivagangai and Ramanathapuram and is a home for critically endangered animals like Nilgiri tahr, lion-tailed macaque and grizzled squirrel,” says a local wildlife expert.

Renowned ornithologist Salim Ali recorded the fruit-eating bats in this area and almost all the major mammals are sighted in Meghamalai but the attention it receives is far too little. A lot of conservation has to be taken up to rejuvenate the depleting greenery, he adds.

Says Mr K.V.R.K. Thirunaranan, founder, the nature trust, “More wildlife divisions with enhanced patrolling are the need of the hour. These forests are a vital connecting link for Theni forests, the catchment area of the Vaigai and the Rajapalayam-Srivilliputhur forest that lies south.

Protecting this area will go a long way in checking wildlife crimes along the western ghats of Tamil Nadu and the entire area, if protected, can be a buffer for Periyar tiger reserve also.”

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