Srivilliputhur Megamalai Tiger Reserve

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Overview:

An RTI query recently revealed that the forest department has identified 12 illegal, unauthorised or unrecognised resorts in Srivilliputhur Megamalai Tiger Reserve (SMTR), Megamalai division in Theni.

About Srivilliputhur Megamalai Tiger Reserve (SMTR):

 

  • Location:
    • It is spread across the districts of Theni, Virudhunagar and Madurai in Tamil Nadu.
    • It lies in the Western Ghats region.
  • SMTR is India's 51st tiger reserve and 5th tiger reserve of Tamil Nadu.
  • It was formed in February 2021 by combining Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary and Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • It will function as a connecting link between Kerala’s Periyar Tiger Reserve and Tamil Nadu’s Southern Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.
  • SMTR will provide protection to Megamalai, the Vaigai River's primary catchment, in turn helping water levels to rise in the river.
  • Flora: It’s a blend of tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, dry deciduous and moist mixed deciduous woods, and grasslands.
  • Fauna:
    • Mammals: Elephants, Tiger, Leopard, Nilgiri Tahr, Gaur, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Sambar Deer, Wild Boar, Porcupine, Nilgiri Langur, Lion-Tailed Macaque etc.
    • Birds: Red-Whiskered Bulbul, Common Iora, White-Browed Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Pied Bush Chat etc.
    • Reptiles: Wood Snake, Monitor Lizard, Chameleon, etc.

 

Key facts about Vaigai River:

  • It is a river in Tamil Nadu state.
  • Origin: It rises in the Varushanad Hills of the Western Ghats. 
  • It travels through the Pandya Nadu region of Tamil Nadu.
  • It is the major river in the fabled city of Madurai, the capital of the ancient and prosperous Pandya kingdom located in southern Tamil Nadu.
  • The river finds a mention in Sangam literature dated to 300 before Common Era.
  • Length: Vaigai River is 258 kilometres long.
  • Tributaries: Its main tributaries are Suruliyaru, Mullaiyaru, Varaganadhi, Manjalaru, Kottagudi, Kridhumaal and Upparu.
  • It finally empties into the Palk Strait near the Pamban Bridge in Ramanathapuram district.
  • Vaigai Dam: The Vaigai dam is termed to be an important dam that is build across the river near Andipatti in the Theni district of Tamil Nadu.
  • The river fulfils the drinking water requirement of five districts of Tamil Nadu namely, Theni, Madurai, Ramnathapuram, Sivagangai and Dindigul. It also provides irrigation to 200,000 hectares of agricultural land.
  • The once perennial river is now completely dry, and animals in large numbers graze on its riverbed.

 


Q1) Where is Megamalai?

Meghamalai , popularly called the Highwavy Mountains, is a mountain range situated in the Western Ghats in Theni district, Tamil Nadu near to Kumily, Kerala. It is dotted with cardamom plantations and tea estates. The place is situated at an elevation of 1,500 m above sea level and it is rich in flora and fauna

Source: 12 illegal resorts present in SMTR, Megamalai division: RTI