This Reserve is situated in the south Western
Ghats of India. It is bound by
forests in west, north and south and by villages in the east.
The Western Ghats is among the 18 world biodiversity hotspots.
Agasthiarmalai (1681 mtrs) which falls within the core zone of
the Reserve is the 3rd highest peak in South India. Part of Agasthyamalai
hills in the core of the Reserve is considered one of the five
centres of plant diversity and endemism in India (IUCN). The topography
This is the only area of Western Ghats which has longest raining
period of about 8 months,and it is the only non-dipterocarp evergreen
forest in the region.It is floristically very different from other
The rich forests of the Reserve form the catchment area for 14
rivers and streams. Among them the Tambraparani, Ramanadi, Karayar,
Servalar, Manimuthar, Pachayar, Kodaiyar, Kadnar, Kallar form
the back-bone of the irrigation network and drinking water for
people of Tirunelveli, Turicorin and part of Kanyakumari district.
Sever major dams - Karaiyar, Lower Dam, Servalar, Manimuthar,
Ramanadi, Kadnanadi and Kodaiyar - owe their existence to these
Papanasam Reserved Forests and Singampatty Ex-zamindari Forests
of Tirunelveli District were declared Tiger Sanctuary in 1962.
The Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 came into force in the state
of Tamil Nadu in 1974. All the existing Sanctuaries were deemed
sanctuaries under the Wildlife (Protection) Act. The entire Kalakad
Reserved Forests was notified sanctuary in 1976.
These Sanctuaries formed part of the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger
Reserve in Tamil Nadu, the seventeenth Tiger Reserve in the country,
created in 1988-89. Initially, it comprised of two adjacent wildlife
sanctuaries of Kalakad and Mundanthurai in district of Tirunelveli
to which parts of Veerapuli and Kilamalai Reserve Forests (Approx.
77 sq. km.) of adjacent district Kanyakumari, were added in April
1996. The area of the Reserve is 895 sq. km.
Kalakad Mundanthurai comprises of 665 sq. km. Reserved Forest.
About 230 sq. km. of Singampatty Ex-zamindari Forest is not yet
declared as Reserve Forest under Section 16 of Tamil Nadu Forest
Act 1882. The legal status of this forest is Reserve Land under
Hill top Tropical Evergreen Forests, West coast tropical evergreen
forests , Tirunelveli semi-evergreen forests ,Dry teak forests
,Southern dry mixed deciduous forests ,Carnatic umbrella thorn
forests ,Ochlandra reeds ,Southern moist mixed deciduous forests
,Tropical riparian fringe forests ,Euphorbiaceous scrub ,High/
low attitude grass lands.
recorded a total of 179 families in the then Madras State. Of
these 157 families are represented in Tirunelveli forests. The
total number of genera and species recorded by Gamble in the erstwhile
Madras State is 1256 and 4390 respectively. Of these Tirunelveli
flora contains 872 genera and 2105 species.
parviflora, Hopea utilis, Calophylum elatum, Cullenia resaraona,
Artocarpus hirsuta, Syzygium sp., Cinnamum zeylancium, Macaranga
roxburghii, Mesua ferrea, Gluta travancorica, Canarium strictum,
Vateria malabaraica, Myristica species, Vitex altimassima, Dysoxylim
malabrium, Anacolosa densiflora, Cullenia exasillata, Cullenia
exelsa, Elaeodendron glacum, Eleogarpus tuberculatus, Alstonia
scholaris, Mangifera indica, Decussocarpus Wallichianus, Podocarpus
latifolia, Eugenia species, Garcinia cambogia, Xanthophyllum flavescens,
Felicium decipiens, Mallotus philippensis, Litsea species, Dalbergia
latifolia, Kingiodendron pinnatum, Wrightia tinctoria, chloroxylon
swietenia, Pterocarpus marsupium, Anogeissus latifolia, Careya
arborea, Emblica officinalis, Dalbergia paniculata, Albizia lebeck,
Tectona grandis, Ficus spp., Phyllanthus emblica, Hardwickia binata,
Elephant, Gaur, Mouse deer, Leopard, Rusty spotted cat, Brown
palm civet, Leopard, Sambhar, Spotted deer, Malabar giant squirrel,
Nilgiri Langur, Bonnet Macaque, Slender Loris, Lion tailed Macaque,
Sloth Bear, Brown mongoose, Nilgiri Martin, Indian pangolin .
Birds : Ceylon
mouth frog, Grey headed bulbul, Great Pied hornbill, Great Indian
Hornbill, Malabar Grey hornbill, Oriental bay owl, Broad tailed
Cobra, Python, Monitor Lizard, Flying Lizard, Pit viper etc.
Achievements and Shortfalls
general objective of management of Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger
Reserve (KMTR) is the conservation of biodiversity in all its
aspects for all times to come.
The management of Tiger Reserve is very much affected due to non-filling
of Forest Guard and Watchers post for a long time. Twenty five
posts of Forest Guard and 5 post of Forest Watchers are vacant.
These posts are not being filled as there is a ban on recruitment
by the state Government. Some beats are vacant for a long time.
Hence much difficulty is being experienced in managing the vulnerable
Efforts made during last three years by conducting open training
courses on Wildlife Management under World Bank assisted Project
has benefited 23 employees. Training is being arranged for the
staff for Participatory Rural Appraisal, Micro Planning and allied
subjects so as to make them competent for implementation of Eco
Cattle in the peripheral villages is vaccinated for possible diseases
with a view to check spread of infections to wildlife of the Reserve.
There is pressure on fringe forest for firewood and small timber
removal by local people. It has been significantly reduced, since
last few years, because of implementation of eco-development project
involving local people in conservation efforts.
Conservation of Biodiversity Project
- Wildlife Institute of India (1996-97).
Study on effects of fires and grazing
on under-story communities at Mundanthurai plateau.
Study on the risk mitigation behaviour
of Bonnet Macaque
Status of Agamid Lizards in the Western
Ghats of Tamil Nadu by Mr. S. Bhupathy and Mr. P. Kannan.
of migrant forest birds in Mundanthurai
Effects of fragmentation of forest on
small mammals, reptiles and amphibians and birds (USFS
World Bank assisted Project on conservation of biodiversity
in Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve through eco-development
and improved park management is on. The major objective has
been to educate, motivate and involve people in peripheral villages
along the 110 km eastern boundary of the Reserve where the dependency
of the people and cattle from these villages on the forest resources
of the Reserve is moderate to heavy.
Village Forest Protection Committees
Village Forest Protection Committees were formed.
Protection Squads / Patrolling
are employed for keeping an eye on the movements of poachers/smugglers
in the vulnerable, remote area of the Reserve.
Education and Awareness
Arumbugal Trust, an NGO, has ample experience in conducting
environmental awareness programme in villages adjoining protected
area. The NGO has successfully conducted programmes in all villages.
The publicity materials such as information brochure, booklets,
stickers on various themes of wildlife management and people
participation through Eco development approach have been created.
Publicity boards have been installed at many places.
Tiger Reserve has three colonies of State Electricity Board
personnel and labourers, a large multinational tea company with
about 10,000 workers besides several small estates and 5 Kani
Tribal habitations consisting of about 102 families. Around
145 hamlets situated within 5 km from the eastern boundary of
the Reserve running over 110 km are inhabited by 1,00,000 people.
are about 50,000 cattle in the fringe villages within 5 km zone
from the eastern boundary of the Reserve. There is very small
number of cattle owned by people of electricity board colonies
as well as the tea estate workers within the Reserve.
Most of the encroachments are very old
and number about 90 over a small area of 9.24ha. The encroachers
had petitioned various courts and obtained stay orders. Efforts
are being made to evict the encroachers whose petitions have
been dismissed by various courts of law. An encroachment of
0.022 ha in Kolundumamalai Reserve Forest was noticed during
A building of Muslim Dargha was constructed. Action is being
taken to evict this encroachment.
There is also a huge suspected encroachment by M/s. B.B.T.C.
Ltd., who is the leasee in the Singampatti Beat VI Land which
was notified under Sec. 4 of Tamil Nadu Forest Act 1882. Since
the boundary stones are missing, the Revenue Department has
been asked to undertake the survey.
grazing permits were issued in the areas under Kalakad Wildlife
Sanctuary since its inception in 1976. Grazing permits were
issued in some parts of Mundanthurai Wildlife Sanctuary. Grazing
remained a problem in parts of Kadayam, Papanasam and Mundanthurai.
Cattle entered the Reserve through Lower Dam and Manimuthar
Dam areas. Issue of grazing permits in Mundanthurai Sanctuary
was stopped from 1997-98. The efforts to advise the people staying
in Electricity Board Colonies in Lower Dam and Servalar to stop
cattle rearing have not been very effective.
is not a problem in core zone since much of the forest area
received enough rainfall in the core zone. The dry deciduous
forest on the lower slopes in the Reserve do experience ground
fire during summer months.
Poaching of fauna and flora
No. of fires
Area in Ha
Species vulnerable to poaching
of this Reserve are Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiri langur followed by
Sambar, Wild boar, Monitor lizard and to a much lesser extent
Panther. No case of tiger poaching has been recorded for a very
long time. The areas most vulnerable for poaching are the Tiruvannamalai
for Nilgiri Tahr, Neterika, Manjolai, Nallumukku, Oothu, Kannikatti,
Ullar, Agasthiar, Chinnapul and upper reaches of Kadayam range
for Nilgiri langur and the fringe forests for Sambar and Wild
Occasionally the cases of timber cutting and removal of Teak,
Rosewood, Vengai are reported.
The Reserve has about 56 km area on the western side abutting
into the state of Kerala from where the entry is relatively
easy because of existence of private estates nearly. Many times
people across the border enter into the Reserve for illegal
activities. Since the areas are extremely remote from Tamil
Nadu side, frequent patrolling becomes difficult.
Criminals and Extremists
Highway passes through in Reserve forests. In Mundanthurai Sanctuary,
a State rural road leading from Papanasam upto upper dam is
being maintained by Rural Highways Department.
There is a road connecting Manimuthar to Upper Kodayar which
is maintained partly by the Tea Company within leased forest
land and State Electricity Board.
Upper dam, Servalar and Upper Kodayar reservoirs are within
the Reserve. A large number of employees of Electricity Board
and Public Works Department stay in permanent colonies within
Burmah Trading Company has 33.88 sq. km. land lease valid till
2028 in the core area of the Reserve. The Company has plantations
of tea and coffee, and three factories.
Control of the Buffer
Field Director has control over an area of 818 sq. km. of which
251 sq. km. is Kalakad Sanctuary and 567 sq. km. is Mundanthurai
Sanctuary. Notification of 77.28 sq. km. added to the Reserve
in May, 1996 by taking areas from Veerapuli and Kilamalai Reserved
Forests of Kanyakumari Forest Division is pending.
major conflicts is the crop damage by wild boar in the villages
abutting the Reserve boundary. Damages by elephants were last
reported during 1995. However, in some areas of the Reserve,
elephant movements along the lower slope may cause make damage
in the adjoining villages. During last few years some cases
of bear entering into the village and wounding a few people
had been reported. Bonnet Macaque also creates problems in the
surrounding villages. Occasional incidences of cattle kills
have been noticed
Along the eastern boundary of the forest, there has been biotic
pressure on the sources of Reserve with the pressure mostly
in cutting and collection of firewood and small timber and non-timber
minor forest produce. Four cases of Ganja cultivation had been
detected in past. There have been large number of cases of gem-stone
theft during 1993-94. This problem has since been controlled
through effective protection and frequent patrolling of the