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Introduction   

Periyar Tiger Reserve lies in the Western Ghats in the Idukki District of the Kerala state in India. The terrain of the Reserve is undulating and the drainage is dendrite. North-eastern boundary of the Reserve is a ridge, which also forms boundary between Kerala and Tamil Nadu states for 90 km.

The Periyar Lake with an area of 26 sq. km. is the nucleus of the Tiger Reserve. Due to the diverticular shape, it caters to a much more extensive area of forest than would be possible if it was merely a compact lake.

The main prey base of tiger is sambar. The other prey animals of tiger are Indian bison and wild boar. Cattle in fringe area also forms an important prey base.

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Conservation History

In the present day Reserve area, a dam was constructed across the Periyar river in 1895 to provide irrigation facilities in Tamil Nadu. The forest around the reservoir, the Peiryar Lake, was declared as reserve forest known as Periyar Lake Reserve in 1899. This area was declared as Nellikkampetty Sanctuary (600 sq. km.) in 1934. The Sanctuary was extended to 777 Sq. Km. in 1950 and renamed as Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. It was declared as a Tiger Reserve in 1978. The Reserve is contiguous with Ranni extending up to Achancovil. The core area of the Reserve, 350 sq. km. was declared a National Park in 1982.


Census    

Animal
1978
1987
1988
1989
1991
1993
1995
1996
 
  Bonnet Macaque
  10 troops
  50 Nos.
  65 Nos.
  32 Nos.
  -
  48 Nos.
  -
  -
  Lion Tailed Macaque
  11 troops
  200 Nos.
  235 Nos.
  182 Nos.
  -
  90 Nos.
  -
  -
  Nilgiri Langur
  170 troops
  300 Nos.
  839 Nos.
  765 Nos.
  -
  1530 Nos.
  -
  -
  Sambar
  452 Nos.
  490 Nos.
  560 Nos.
  580 Nos.
  -
  10.37 D
  -
  -
  Gaur
  100 Nos.
  350 Nos.
  378 Nos.
  412 Nos.
  -
  1.59 D
   
  -
  Tiger
  34 Nos.
  45 Nos.
  45 Nos.
  46 Nos.
  46 Nos.
  33 Nos.
  39 Nos.
  30 Nos.
  Leopard
  14 packs
  26 Nos.
  27 Nos.
  21 Nos.
  -
  7 D
  -
  -
  Wild Dog
  49 Packs
  55 Nos.
  64 Nos.
  62 Nos.
  -
  216.6 D/E
  -
  -
  Elephants
  588 Nos.
  950 Nos.
  1020 Nos.
  980 Nos.
  -
  615 Nos.
  -
  -
  Wild Gaur
  500 Nos.
  1100 Nos.
  1300 Nos.
  1290 Nos.
  -
  27.14 D
  -
  -
  Barking deer
  -
  -
  -
  -
  -
  30 Nos.
  -
  -
  Mouse deer
  -
  -
  -
  -
  -
  200 D/E
  -
  -
  Malbar giant Squirrel
  -
  -
  -
  -
  -
  6.75 D
  -
  -
  Indian Porcupine
  -
  -
  -
  -
  -
  417.5 D/E
  -
  -
  Small Indian Civet
  -
  -
  -
  -
  -
  84.29 D/E
  -
  -
  Common Palm Civet
  -
  -
  -
  -
  -
  218.11 D/E
  -
  -
  Sloth bear
  -
  -
  -
  -
  -
  284.68 DS
  -
  -

 

Offence cases

Year
Cases
1990
74
1991
65
1992
34
1993
33
1994
93
1995
71
1996
41
Total
411

 

 

 




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Archeology

Mangaladevi - Kannagi Temple falls on Northern boundary of the Reserve.

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Forest Types   

West Coast Tropical Evergreen Forests,West Coast Semi Evergreen Forests, Moist Deciduous,Southern Montane Wet Grass Land ,Eucalyptus Plantations

Major Flora

So far 1963 flowering plant species belonging to 823 genera and 159 families have been documented by Dr. N. Sasidharan, Kerala Forest Research Institute and Kerala Forest Department (1998).

Main Species

Hopea parviflora, Dipterocarpus indicus, Palaquium elliptium, Veteria indica and Myristica dactyloides.

Major Fauna

In Periyar Tiger Reserve 49 species of mammals, 265 species of birds, 36 species of reptiles, 12 species of amphibians, 35 species of fishes and 160 species of butterflies identified so far.

Main Species

Elephant, Gaur, Sambar, Tiger, Leopard, Wild Dog, Barking Deer, Lion Tailed Macaque,
Nilgiri Langur, Nilgiri Tahr.


Management    

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Practices, Achievements and Shortfalls

Habitat consolidation was done by acquiring three private estates (53.8 ha) during 1982. Effective Fire protection measure has promoted natural regeneration in grasslands. Planting of exotic species, eucalyptus in Periyar Tiger Reserve has been discontinued and action initiated to convert the present 55 sq. km. eucalyptus area into natural forest. Water sources have been developed judiciously.

 

  1. Fifty newly recruited Forest Guards were posted after giving one-month training in Wildlife Management in the Reserve some time ago.

  2. Through awareness/eco-development approach local people have been involved in patrolling, information sharing and arrest of criminals indulging in illicit activities.

  3. Ten Wireless Stations are being maintained.

  4. About sixty watchers are engaged to compensate the shortage of regular protection staff.
  5. Frequent camping and combing operations with sufficient staff and watchers are being carried out.
  6. Special combing operations to detect illegal ganja cultivation are being carried out.

  7. Inspection Path Maintenance, vista-line clearance and roadside clearance and inter-state boundary clearance are being done for strengthening the perambulation.
  8. Patrolling camps with trenches were constructed at Brandipara, Uppermanalar and Eravingalar.
  9. The repair of existing camping sheds at Mavady and Mlappara with trenches was completed for ensuring staff presence at this key points.
  10. Rain coats, gum boots and hunter shoes were provided to the field staff

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Special Projects

  • Studies of the flora of Periyar Tiger Reserve (Dr. N. Sasidharan, Kerala Forest Research Insitute, KFRI).
  • Patterns and Processes of fish assemblages in Periyar Lake Valley system (Dr. L.K. Arun, KFRI)
  • Ecology and behaviour of Gaur in Periyar Tiger Reserve (Dr. P.S. Easa, KFRI)

New Initiatives

Eco-development

India Eco-development Project is being implemented since 1997. The important components of the Project are: -

Village Eco-development Programme.
Improved Protected Area Management
Impact monitoring and research, and
Environmental education and awareness campaigns

The biotic pressure like grazing, firewood collection, non-timber forest produce collection, fishing and fire are prevalent from the fringe villages. Action has already been initiated through eco-development at micro-level to minimise the biotic pressures by providing alternative income generation activities and bringing efficiency in utilization of natural resources. Under the India Eco-development Project, micro-plans have been prepared for the fringe villages.

Village Forest Protection Committees

Twenty two Eco-development Committees were constituted in the fringe area. These are helpful in forest protection also.

Education and Awareness

Nature Camps are conducted in Periyar Tiger Reserve for students and members of various Nature Clubs.

Protection Squads / Patrolling

In addition to regular staff, there is special flying squad headed by a Range Officer for protection and patrolling.

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Constraints

Human population

There is no habitation inside the Reserve.
On the Tamil Nadu side fringe of the Reserve there are 22 estates and on the Kerala side there are 36 village areas (There is no village system, habitation is continuous all along the fringe area).
Estimate of human population within 2 km radius of the Reserve is 2.25 lakh.



Livestock population

2000 cattle graze in fringe area.

Encroachment

Nil

Grazing

No grazing in the core. About 2000 cattle graze in fringe area.

Fire

No fire incidence in the core because it is all evergreen forests.
Occasional fire incidences in the buffer in grasslands during January to April.


Poaching of fauna and flora

Few cases of poaching of fauna and flora have been detected. Though there is great pressure of illegal fishing in Totladoh Reservoir, but it is controlled through round the clock patrolling and vigilance.

Poaching figure of Wildlife

Species Poached
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
 
  Elephant
-
-
-
1
-
1
-
  Gaur
1
1
-
1
-
1
4
  Sambar
-
1
-
2
-
3
-
  Barking deer
-
-
1
-
-
1
-
  N. Langur
4
1
-
-
1
2
1
  Otter
-
-
-
-
2
-
-
  Wild Boar
1
1
-
-
-
-
-

Criminals and Extremists

Mostly Tamil Nadu side

Diseases

Nil

Control of the Buffer

Buffer is part and parcel of the Reserve.

Others

Overlapping jurisdiction

Overlapping jurisdiction of Grassland Afforestation Division in part of the Reserve.

Dual control over tourism

The Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) is running three luxury hotels and five boats as an independent agency.

Pilgrims at Sabarimala Ayyappan Temple

The Sabarimala Ayyappan Temple in Periyar Tiger Reserve attracts 5 million pilgrims in 60 days. Problems associated with the pilgrimage is fuel wood collection from forest, garbage, degradation of forests, more demand for land, new construction, future threat of proposal Sabari Rail etc. There is no proper co-ordination between the Forest Department and Devaswam Board.

Electric Line and electrocution of wildlife

8 elephants, 2 Nilgiri langurs, one flying squirrel have been electrocuted due the electric line to Lake Palace run by KTDC.

Ganja cultivation

Illegal ganja cultivation exists in the interior forests of the Reserve. The ganja cultivators clear fell the prime forests in the deep interior, since the ganja plant is a strong light demander. As the cultivation takes 6 months for harvest, it causes prolonged stay of the laborers within the forests and the associated damages including poaching take place.

Pachakkanam Estate

The Estate is mainly cultivated with cardamom under semi-evergreen forest canopy of huge trees. Total area of the estate is 208.576 ha. As the estate is on the boundary of the Periyar Tiger Reserve and the general vegetation is similar to that of the Reserve, wild animals visit the area frequently. Several experts have recommended the merger of the Estate with the Reserve.

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Conflicts  

Man-Animal

The human-wildlife conflict or interface conflict in Periyar Tiger Reserve is negligible

Man-Forest

Fringe area people are dependent on the reserve for fuelwood, thatching grass and NTFP.

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Action Points    

  1. Re-organisation of the Ranges/ Sections/ Beat/ compartments etc. keeping in view the management problems.
  2. Integrating the Grassland Afforestation Division into the Periyar Tiger Reserve management and terminating the raw material supply contract to Hindustan Newsprint Ltd.
  3. Full control over tourism by the Forest Department.
  4. Implementation of wildlife oriented management system in the ecological zone of Periyar Tiger Reserve at least in areas adjoining to PTR (both in Kerala and Tamil Nadu).
  5. Sufficient funds for Tourism activities.
  6. Recycling the revenue generated from tourism, in Tiger Reserve itself for developmental activities.
  7. Sufficient fund for habitat improvement, protection etc.
  8. Compulsory training in wildlife management and eco-development at all levels for staff.
  9. Posing of separate and sufficient staff for tourism/education and interpretation.
  10. Project allowance/incentives/ awards for staff at all levels.
  11. Preparation of master plan for Sabarimala.
    Stopping on going construction at Sabarimala.
  12. Creating facilities for pilgrim outside the Reserve.
  13. Local people's participation in management of Sabrimala.
    Garbage disposal system at Sabarimala.
  14. Making all electric line in the Reserve underground.
  15. The Proposed Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary of Tamil Nadu, adjacent to Periyar should be notified immediately.

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Tiger Reserve Service Directory