CHENNAI: After five decades, Cauvery North Wildlife Sanctuary has recorded the presence of tigers. The movement of two male tigers, in their prime, was captured in camera traps installed at Jawalagiri range in Hosur in Krishnagiri district.
The last anecdotal record of tiger presence in the area was in the 1970s, said Hosur Wildlife Warden K Karthikeyani to TNIE. "Both the sightings were recorded in Jawalagiri range in the third week of January. These are spillover tigers from adjacent Bannerghatta National Park in Bengaluru, Karnataka."
Karthikeyani said a dedicated patrolling team was formed to monitor the movement of tigers and there are plans to increase the number of camera traps to cover more area. "There would be more tigers. We never know. Currently, there are 25-30 camera traps fixed in select locations."
"Jawalagiri range is adjacent to the recently notified Cauvery South Wildlife Sanctuary which is a part of the continuous landscape of protected areas. The presence of tigers in the habitat shows that the habitat is viable to accommodate spill over tiger population from Bannerghatta National Park and nearby protected areas indicating the success of the conservation efforts, said Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary, Environment, Forests, Climate Change Department.
Karthikeyani said Cauvery North Wildlife Sanctuary has a good prey base and water availability and the forest, which is riverine and dry deciduous, can sustain the resident tiger population.
Chief Wildlife Warden Srinivas R Reddy told TNIE, that due to good protection measures in both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, there is tiger dispersion happening. In the last census, a few tigers were recorded in Bannerghatta National Park, which receives spillover population from MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, BRT tiger reserve etc. Now, Cauvery North Wildlife Sanctuary and Cauvery South Wildlife Sanctuary, where there was no presence of tigers for decades, have become a potential habitat for tigers. This is because the tiger corridors are made safe and protection was beefed up from Nilgiris to Hosur."
Reddy said the population is reaching saturation levels in all the tiger reserves. "Tigers that are pushed out by dominant males and young tigers, which explore, are in search of new and safe havens. The drift population from the Sathyamangalam tiger reserve via Erode can find a home in Cauvery North and South wildlife sanctuaries. Likewise, tigers can move all the way from MM Hills in Karnataka. In future, if tiger numbers are to increase, we need to take care of these habitats," he said.