BENGALURU: The MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary in Chamarajanagara district will soon get the status of a tiger reserve, the sixth one in the state and the 51st in the country. The Centre had sought a few clarifications regarding enclosures in the core area. The MM Hills Wildlife Division has sent a report on the same.
Earlier, the Karnataka State Board of Wildlife, under the chairmanship of former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, had cleared the proposal for declaring this sanctuary as a tiger reserve. As per the All India Tiger Estimation, 2018, this area is spread over 907 sqkm and has 15 tigers. V Yedukondalu, DCF, MM Hills Wildlife Division, told TNIE, “Only technical approval is pending for the sanctuary to be declared a tiger reserve.”
The sanctuary, which is contiguous with both BRT Tiger Reserve on the western side and Satyamangalam Reserve in Tamil Nadu on the southern side, usually witnesses young tigers in search of a new home range. “We have tigers which have been here for the past 5-7 years. From BRT or the other contiguous protected areas, young adults in search of a new territory come to MM Hills. It further has ‘push populations’ from both BRT and Satyamanagalam reserves,” added the DCF.
According to state forest officials, the sanctuary boasts some of the best flora and fauna. The sanctuary has a lot of space and is bigger than Bandipur and is richer than any other sanctuary, when it comes to vegetation. Although the number of species present may be less compared to Bandipur or Nagarhole, it is extremely diverse. Biologically, it is an important repository for the future, what with the herbivorous population increasing. There is scope for the expansion of tiger population, added forest officials.
Home to leopards, dholes and many more
Once the hideout of notorious brigand Veerappan, the Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary based on the confluence of the Eastern and Western ghats, was notified as a sanctuary only in May 2013. It is home to tigers, leopards, sloth bears, elephants, dholes, antelopes, grizzled giant squirrels and honey badgers.