How 2021 supplied us a ‘wall of alternative’ to extend Tamil Nadu’s environmental scene

The Essential Wildlife Warden of Tamil Nadu enumerates what he and his crew did to boost environmental affairs in the state within the midst of COVID-19 

The very first just a few months of 2022 are above. However the recollections of 2021 are nonetheless contemporary in our minds. Most of them are these of anguish introduced the havoc that COVID-19 created final yr. However I additionally get hold of causes to hope on this 12 months depending on what I did as a forest officer within the calendar yr earlier.

The yr 2021 did give you a lot of environmental potentialities for me and my crew. It was the calendar yr through which we crossed various environmental milestones. Le me recount a few of them on this article.

The calendar yr commenced with the end result of eight a number of years of personal efforts as Tamil Nadu’s fifth and India’s 51st tiger reserve, Srivilliputhur- Meghamalai Tiger Reserve (SMTR) was efficiently notified greater than 1,000 sq km.

This was performed simply simply earlier than the meeting election in Tamil Nadu. I, my group of dedicated ecologists and members of a handful of non-earnings, together with my Virudhunagar colleagues skilled drafted and submitted the SMTR proposal approach once more in 2012.

I had been pursuing it at any time contemplating the truth that. We reworked the proposal another time in 2018 and rationalised the reserve’s mapping and will get it notified once I was officiating as a unique secretary on the environment and forest division of the Tamil Nadu govt.

Now, SMTR has flip into the strongest hope for the security of one among India’s southernmost tiger populations. It may even provide a brand new methodology for conserving the h2o on which roughly 100 million women and men rely.

The formation of SMTR could possibly be instrumental within the revival of the Vaigai river, whose catchments have been encroached 10 years instantly after 10 years, resulting in its sure demise as a river course of. SMTR shall be India’s 1st ‘tiger-water’ reserve.

We had been additionally succesful to successfully defend an essential tiger hall ultimate 12 months — Manikettan-Periyar — the fairly existence of which was threatened by the lengthy-standing proposed neutrino (INO) enterprise.

The to start out with transfer I took quickly after assuming my new demand of state important wildlife warden in July 2021 was releasing Rivaldo — a 40-calendar year-old wholesome tusker, mistakenly thought of bodily challenged owing to earlier accidents.

Asian elephant in SMTR. Picture: Shekhar Niraj

Rivaldo was captured and kraalled in April 2021 beneath great political and neighborhood pressures. He was destined to be held in captivity for the remainder of his way of life.

I drafted a scientific and meticulous system of rewilding Rivaldo in his home vary within the jap a part of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. It was an opportunity because the tusker might have happen into intensive battle with close by folks.

However proper right here, the scientific technique assisted. These days, Rivaldo is happily dwelling within the wild together with people of his selection, consuming correctly and staying healthful and cheerful.

We had been confronted with the spectre of human-tiger battle in September, posed by the tiger MDT23 within the Mudumalai-Gudalur forests house. An rising number of cattle kills and human deaths ended up ascribed to MDT23.

There have been many requires that or not it’s shot. I issued a seize order on September 24 and a trying buy on Oct 1. Proper after this, I took a private resolve of capturing MDT23 alive and innocent and preserve the tiger as successfully the people from extra battle.

I led the operation individually within the trade for greater than 15 occasions with a meticulously drafted seize technique that produced use of contemporary day sources and technological know-how and standardised protocols. 

Our inflexible decision and matching troublesome work over a interval of 23 days resulted in MDT23 turning into tranquilised correctly and captured on Oct 15, 2021, the working day of Dussehra.

A crew of 4 certified and educated veterinarians restored the tiger’s well being and health. We translocated it to a Mysuru wild animal rescue centre the very same evening time, the place it now lives a healthful and guarded every day life.

A pair days delay would have price ticket its lifetime. A bench of the Madras Giant Courtroom headed by the Chief justice expressed reward for the forest officers concerned within the operation.

The calendar yr 2021 additionally supplied an chance to preserve a tiger cub — about 7 months earlier whose mom might by no means ever be traced. We resolved to raise and put together the cub and rehabilitate it within the wilderness of the Analamai hills, alternatively than ship out it to a zoo.

The most recent federal authorities of Tamil Nadu, introduced a number of orders from October-December 2021 on the premise of proposals that I skilled pursued greater than a few years.

These had been being:


  • The institution of a dugong conservation examine in Palk Bay for consolidating the conservation of the critically endangered dugong
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  • The establishment of Tamil Nadu’s fifth elephant reserve. The Agasthiyamalai elephant reserve was shaped by linking the elephant habitats of Tirunelveli, Kanniyakumari and Tenkasi districts
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  • Putting up of Tamil Nadu’s Forest and Wildlife Crime Bureau, which I skilled pursued since 2017
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  • Saying the atmosphere up of three new extremely developed rescue and rehabilitation centres for wildlife at Coimbatore, Trichy and Tirunelveli and up scaling the present centre at Vandalur, to handle the troubles just like pressured wild animals and their rescue and rehabilitation
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As well as, I additionally drafted schemes to arrange a forest marine elite drive to ship safety to wildlife collectively the Tamil Nadu coast and to established up a neighborhood of skilled forest and wildlife sniffer canine squads to strengthen wildlife crime detection and investigation.

In 2021, we additionally recorded the lowest number of tiger deaths within the earlier fairly just a few yrs and the least costly amount of human deaths in wildlife assaults.

The Kazhuvelli brackish water tank and lagoon, distribute in extra of 55 hectares in Tamil Nadu’s Viluppuram district, was notified as Tamil Nadu’s sixteenth fowl sanctuary in November 2021, instantly after virtually two a very long time of pursuance.

The yr additionally ended with specialists from the Wildlife Institute of India sighting dugongs many cases in Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar throughout 2021.

Lastly, on December twenty fifth, I sighted on the very least tens of 1000’s flamingos near Level Calimere hen and wildlife sanctuary. The birds had shaped a wall — the ‘Nice Flamingo Wall’ that bumped into kilometres.

So the 12 months 2021 wasn’t so gloomy. Even with the complete-blown hazard by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants, we constructed the pall of gloom give strategy to a wall of choices and entered 2022 with new hopes and optimism.

We hope that a few of these initiatives will make 2022 safer and far more healthy for us and we shall be at peace with our environment and atmosphere.

Views expressed are the creator’s particular person and actually do not robotically mirror folks of Down To Earth 


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