Dans le Tamil Nadu, à l'extrême sud de l'Inde, la zone qui servit de repaire au célèbre braconnier Veerappan, abattu il y a neuf ans, vient d'être transformée en réserve à tigres. L'Etat en compte désormais quatre. Source : Times of india, ce jour. C'est aussi dans le Tamil Nadu que se trouvent les Nilgiri Hills (les "collines bleues"), riches en tigres et léopards, et où ces animaux s'affrontent fréquemment.
COIMBATORE: Nine years after the dreaded sandalwood smuggler Veerappan was shot dead, his former lair of Sathyamangalam has been declared a tiger reserve amid
complaints from traditional forest dwellers that they were never consulted as mandated under the historic Forest Rights Act, 2006. A government order in this regard reached the conservator of
forests in Erode on Monday and it said the wildlife sanctuary, home to about 25 tigers and over 1,200 elephants, has been made a tiger reserve with effect from March 15.
will be the fourth tiger reserve in the state, the other three being Mudumalai, Kalakkad Mundanthurai and Anamalai. The status would mean more funds and personnel for protection of wildlife as the forest division will now be able to avail funds under Project Tiger.
The 1408.04 sq km reserve will have a 793.4 sq km core zone and 614.9 sq km buffer zone. While the core area has seven tribal settlements, the buffer area has two settlements and there are 900 and living in the reserve.
'Move will affect tribal livelihood'
Both conservator A Venkatesh and Sathyamangalam divisional forest officer K Rajkumar said tribal settlements have been excluded from the tiger reserve as per the notification and there would be no eviction or relocation. However , , who represents the region, said the notification was totally illegal as it did not meet the provisions of and the Wildlife Protection Act.
"They may have exempted the tribals' houses from the reserve , but tribals are dependent on the surrounding forests and will lose their livelihood if there is a ban on allowing cattle to graze and collecting minor forest produce,'' he said. Most tribals cultivate pulses and cereals in the open areas of the forest and their agricultural activity would also be affected, he said. Sundaram said the tribal community would resist tooth and nail any attempt to stifle their right to live in the name of protecting tigers. "I am yet to see the notification. Everything was arbitrary and without taking the local community into confidence," he said.
Forest officer Rajkumar said there won't be any immediate change in the functioning of the wildlife sanctuary. "Rules and regulations of the National Tiger Conservation Authority will be strictly implemented and funds would be sourced under Project Tiger. More antipoaching watchers would be deployed and there would be a gradual improvement in generating fodder and facilitating regulated ecotourism,'' he said.
The forest division was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 2011. Forest officials claimed the decision to designate it as a tiger reserve was taken considering the region's ecological and biological significance. It was only recently that the sanctuary was expanded by including more forest reserves like Guthiyalathur, Akurjakkarai, Thalamalai, Berabetta, Ullepalayam and eastern slopes of Nilgiris , once the hunting grounds of Veerappan.
The tiger reserve status would ensure that forests would be better protected, helping in curbing threats posed by laterite mining and timber plundering mafias. After the killing of Veerappan in 2004, the forests have also witnessed large-scale encroachments.
Voir aussi l'article du même jour, dans THE HINDU.
commenter cet article