WILD BIO DIVERSIRTY
ABOUT WILD BIODIVERSITY
One sixth of landmass of Tamil Nadu is covered with forests. According to State of forest report 2013 by the Forest Survey of India, the total forest cover of the State is 23,844 km² constituting 18.33% of geographic area. This includes 2,948 km² of very dense forest, 10,199 km² of moderately dense forest and 10,697 km² of open forest. Tamil Nadu ranks 11th among the Indian States and Union Territories with reference to total forest cover. The recorded forest area of the state is 22,877 km² constituting 17.59% of the geographic area. Tamil Nadu ranks 13th among the Indian States and Union Territories with reference to total recorded forest area.
The protected area of the Country is 1,61,221 km² constituting 4.90% of the geographic area and 20.89% of the recorded forest area. The protected areas of Tamil Nadu extend to 7069.72 km² constituting 5.44% of the geographic area and 30.9% of the recorded forest area. Tamil Nadu ranks 14th among all the States and Union Territories of India in terms of protected area. There are 15 wildlife sanctuaries over 6,06,386.84 ha. and 15 bird sanctuaries over 17,666.15 ha., 5 National Parks over 82763 ha., 4 Tiger Reserves, 4 Elephant Reserves and 3 Biosphere Reserves for in situ conservation of wild fauna and flora. There are two Conservation Reserves in Tamil Nadu. National Wildlife Action Plan 2002-16 [Page-10] states that “we should aim to bring 10% of India’s landmass under the PA network, of which at least half should be inviolate habitats”. Tamil Nadu Forest Department is striving to achieve this major objective.
The Angiosperm diversity of India includes 17,672 species. With 5640 species, Tamil Nadu ranks 1st among all the States in the Country. This includes 533 endemic species, 230 red-listed species, 1559 species of medicinal plants and 260 species of wild relatives of cultivated plant. The Gymnosperm diversity of the country is 64 species of which Tamil Nadu has 4 species of indigenous Gymnosperms and about 60 introduced species. The Pteridophytes diversity of India includes 1022 species of which Tamil Nadu has about 184 species. Tamil Nadu wild plant diversity also includes vast number of Bryophytes, Likens, Fungi, Algae and Bacteria.
The faunal diversity of Tamil Nadu includes 165 species of fresh water Pisces, 76 species of Amphibians, 177 species of reptiles, 454 species of birds and 187 species of mammals. According to the CAMP reports the red-listed species include 126 species of Pisces, 56 species of Amphibians, 77 species of reptiles, 32 species of birds and 40 species of mammals. The endemic fauna includes 36 species of Amphibians, 63 species of reptiles, 17 species of birds and 24 species of mammals. Schedule I animals include 22 species of mammals, 42 species of birds and 9 species of reptiles. Schedule II animals include 13 species of mammals. Schedule III animals include 5 species of mammals. Schedule IV animals include 5 species of mammals, 367 species of birds, 109 species of reptiles and 23 species of Amphibians. Schedule V animals include 13 species of mammals and 1 species of birds.
- Provide absolute protection of the area from all factors causing degradation, depletion and destruction of wildlife and wildlife habitats by strict enforcement of the Wildlife [Protection] Act, 1972 and Tamil Nadu Forest Act, 1882.
- Eco-development works in and around protected areas to provide the essential benefits to the occupants of enclosures and villages respectively to ensure their support and willing participation in wildlife conservation.
- Encourage appropriate monitoring and research works to develop programmes and plans, and thereby tackle the identified problems.
- Facilitate education and awareness creation, facilities for the benefit of all sections of population and especially students. Create awareness on the need to conserve our natural bio-resources through various mass media and other means.
- Take fire prevention and control measures in and around Sanctuaries through specific programmes.
- Take habitat restoration and improvement measures wherever necessary.
- Relocation of human settlements from Protected Areas.
- Prevention of outbreak of contagious diseases among wild animals by taking prophylactic measures among domestic animals entering Sanctuaries and National Parks.
- Develop ex situ conservation centres like Zoological Parks and gene gardens, etc.
- Creation of Education and Interpretation Centres.
- Construction of crop protection structures like fences, trenches and walls, etc.
- Identification of restoration of corridors to facilitate free movement of animals between and around Protected Areas.
- Settle adequate compensation to the persons for death or damage caused by wild animals.
- Restriction and regulation for pollution causing industries and activities in a radius of 25 kms. around the protected areas as per the Environment Protection Act.
- Integrate the wildlife Protected Areas on a watershed or landscape basis with other sectors like Rural Development, Animal Husbandry, etc. for the sustained conservation and development of the area.
- Ensure that each and every Protected Area has a Management Plan in place.
- Conserve the medicinal plants in the protected area by creation and management of Medicinal Plants Conservation Area [MPCAs].
- Tourism demands are subservient to conservation and to the interest of the protected area and therefore wildlife tourism exists for the Parks and not Parks for touris
Forestry activities in the district is being carried out by Wildlife Division, with Wildlife Warden as the administrative head. The division consists of 4 Ranges with headquarters at Nagapattinam, Kodiakkarai,Muthupet and Thanjavur. The basic responsibilities of the division includes afforestation activities like raising coastal shelterbelt, greenbelts, mangrove restoration, wildlife management and attending to environmental issues The important forest and wildlife areas in the division includes Pt. Calimere Wildlife sanctuary.
- Karaivetti bird sanctuaries
- Muthupet mangroves
Extending over 1,650 acres, Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary at Kodikkarai is located in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. 45km South of Velanganni, the sanctuary consists 17 sq km of tidal swamps, which forms an ideal habitat for flamingos especially in December and January and other water birds. The proximity of delightful beaches, historic sites make this sanctuary a delightful and adventurous wilderness vacation.
It was to protect the near-threatened blackbuck,one of India’s endemic mammals, that this coastal sanctuary in Tamil Nadu was established nearly half a century ago [in 1967]; that resulted in the doubling of said antelope’s population in 30 years. Spotted deer, monitor lizards, lesser short-nosed fruit bats, the small Indian civet and the Indian star tortoise are among the 14 mammal, 18 reptile and nine amphibian species seen here. It’s also a particularly superb destination for birding. The December 2004 tsunami left the sanctuary under four feet of seawater and destroyed a Chola-age lighthouse, but without any lasting loss of wildlife.
Pt. Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary and the Muthupet mangroves are the most important forest and wildlife areas of Nagapattinam district. Pt. Calimere Wildlife sanctuary is located 60 km from Nagapattinam and Muthupet mangroves is located 70 km from Nagapattinam. Pt. Calimere Wildlife sanctuary with a total protected area of 30 sq.kms, is home to the largest population of the endemic Blackbuck in south. Other animals of the sanctuary include the jackal, spotted deer, jungle cat, feral horses, black napped hare, etc. including a variety of reptiles. From October to January nearly 90 species of migratory water birds visit the sanctuary and its surroundings. They include Flamingoes, Painted storks, Pelicans, Spoonbills, ducks, teals and a variety of shore birds. The best time to visit the sanctuary for bird watching is November-December. The sanctuary is open to visitors throughout the year.
Besides bird-watching, the park has provided the facilities of an education and interpretation centre, a library, films, slides and binoculars. Boating facility is also available in the lake situated within the park. A room dedicated to the memory of Dr. Salim Ali, which contains his bust, photographs, write ups, and some of his personal effects. There is public parking, bathrooms, drinking water facilities and a children’s park in the reserve. For those wishing to stay overnight, the park also has a well appointed guest house with all amenities.
WHEN TO VISIT
The park is best visited in winters when a large number of migratory birds arrive. For the benefit of bird lovers certain facilities have been provided like an education and interpretation centre, a library as well as films, slides and binoculars. There are hideouts and four watch towers located at different points. There is also boating facility in the Sultanpur lake inside the park.
Tropical dry-evergreen forest covers nearly 15 sq.kms of Pt. Calimere Wildlife sanctuary. The forests are mostly of the nature of scrubland that stands on low sand dunes located on the western half of the sanctuary. Manilkara hexandra, locally called Palai is the most important evergreen species of the sanctuary forest. In the sanctuary grasslands the dominant graminoid is Aeluropus lagopoides followed by Sporobulu tremulus and Cressa cretica. The forest is home to 154 species of medicinal plants like Mucuna pruriens, Solanum trilobatum, Tinospora cordifolia Randia dumatorum and Cissus quadrangularis A Forest Rest House at Kodiakkarai is available for visitors to the sanctuary.
There are about 154 medicinal plants are available in this forest of Kodiakkarai.
- Located 70 km from Nagapattinam. Connected both by road and rail.
- The largest mangrove in south.
- About 50 sq.kms of the mangroves is located in Nagapattinam district.
- Avicennia marina is the dominant species [98% coverage].
- Mullipallam lagoon [11 sq.kms], an important tourist spot.
The District Forest Department ushered in a green drive at the Collectorate premises here with the planting of 500 saplings on Wednesday. The project was a part of the Forest Department’s ‘greening’ scheme of the Collectorate. The purpose was to foster more green cover in the district, which had a forest cover of 3.64 per cent. As part of the initiative, about 1,100 saplings were proposed to be planted within the Collectorate. About 500 saplings were planted initially. The programme envisaged planting of all the saplings within the end of the monsoon period. The Highways Department had dug the earth at appropriate locations for the planting of saplings. The Forest Department had provided the saplings and the Indian Overseas bank had granted Rs.50,000 for fencing the saplings. Collector C. Munianathan, presiding over the event, hoped that the project would provide a cue to the public to take up afforestation with renewed zest.