Erode is likely to become the sixth tiger reserve of Tamil Nadu, senior officials of the state forest said. The state forest department is in the final stages of drafting a proposal to create a new Tiger reserve in Erode forest range. This is after the central government approved the Srivilliputhur- Megamalai Tiger reserve as the state's fifth Tiger Reserve an year ago.
Spread over 82,144 hectares of land, the Erode forest division is home to around 20 tigers, according to senior officials of the state forest department. The number of tigers, according to them, may vary from 15-20 in the Erode forest division.
In addition to 15-20 tigers, Erode Forest division is home to elephants, wild boars, leopards, wild dogs, deer, Indian guars, and other rare species. It is surrounded by the Kollegal forest division of Karnataka on the northern side and the Satyamangalam Forest Range on the western side.
Chief Wild Life Warden of Tamil Nadu, Shekar Kumar Niraj while speaking to IANS said: "Erode forest division is well connected to western and eastern ghats and this would ensure the good genetic quality of wild species."
The official said that fieldwork, data collection, and survey according to the government of India guidelines are to be done for considering the Erode forest division as the sixth Tiger reserve of the state of Tamil Nadu.
The local communities will also get opportunities to earn a livelihood and involve in the protection mechanism. Erode forest division is home to six tribal settlements.
Forest department officials said that 50 per cent of the area of Erode Forest division is already having the presence of tigers and with the detailed and minute survey of wild animals, the proposal will be forwarded to the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests.