Mudumalai Tiger Reserve to sport new features
Udhagamandalam: The 321-sq.km. Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) near here will soon sport new features that are expected to strengthen conservation efforts and at the same time spur development.
Come December the MTR will have an Eco-Shop.
Disclosing this to The Hindu here, the Field Director of the reserve, Rajiv K. Srivastava, said that it will be run by an Eco-Development Committee comprising tribals on the lines of a souvenir shop.
Apart from items which espouse the cause of wildlife conservation, it will sell the products of various tribal communities including Kurumbas, Todas and Kotas.
Stating that by early January another tribal Eco-Development Committee will start conducting eco-camps at places like Pudhu Natham and Chemanatham, Mr. Srivastava said that awareness about nature will be created by organising various activities like treks.
Another tribal committee will promote rural tourism in places near the MTR like Bhoodhanatham and Kurumbarpadi. It will include bullock cart rides and ethnic food.Stating that the aim is to relieve congestion within the MTR, he said that over the years the inflow of tourists has been steadily rising.
From 94,945 visitors including foreigners in 1995-96 it went up to 1,20,402 during 2005-2006 and last year it was 1,63,610.
There is also a proposal to set up a children’s park and two plants to produce vermicompost.
By organising such activities the pressure on the MTR will come down and the livelihood status of the tribals residing in or near the forests will move up.
He added that finishing touches are being given to a new reception centre and a new interpretation centre near Theppakadu.
(Note: The Mudumalai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary lies on the northwestern side of the Nilgiri Hills (Blue Mountains), in Nilgiri District, about 80 km north-west of Coimbatore in the westernmost part of Tamil Nadu, on the interstate boundaries with Karnataka and Kerala states in South India.)