All-terrain vehicles, watchtowers, a shower to entice elephants and a viewing screen — these were some of the “anomalies” noted by the Sigur Elephant Corridor Inquiry Committee at a private school in the notified elephant corridor in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve recently.

 

What is the issue?

  • The court-appointed technical committee, headed by retired judge K. Venkatraman, had inspected the school and 40 other locations.
  • The school, which is situated in the buffer zone of the MTR and models itself as a “tribal school”, was found to have a few watchtowers, viewing screens and a specially designed shower that activists believe helps attract elephants.
  • The school authorities have been found responsible in large part for transforming the behaviour of an elephant, making it reliant on people for food.

 

About Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

  • It is located in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu.
  • It is at the tri-junction of three states, viz, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and it plays an unique role by forming part of the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve.
  • Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve is the first Biosphere Reserve in India, declared during 1986.
  • It has a common boundary with Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala) on the West, Bandipur Tiger Reserve (Karnataka) on the North, and the Nilgiris North Division on the South and East and Gudalur Forest Division on the South West, together forming a large conservation landscape for flagship species such as Tiger and Asian Elephant.
  • The name Mudumalai means ”the ancient hill range”. Indeed, it is as old as 65 million years when Western Ghats were formed.

 

Important Flora And Fauna

  • The Reserve has tall grasses, commonly referred to as “Elephant Grass”, Bamboo of the giant variety, valuable timber species like Teak, Rosewood, etc.
  • There are several species of endemic flora. Such a varied habitat is inhabited by a variety of animals which include Tiger, Elephant, Indian Gaur, Panther, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Common Langur, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Wild Dog, Mangoose, Jungle Cat, Hyena, among others.