Context: Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, though home to more than half the number of tigers present in Kerala, may not be notified as a Tiger Reserve as it lacks public support.


BACKGROUND The Status of Tigers in India report released last year had estimated the tiger population of Wayanad as between 75 and 80 individuals. Periyar Tiger Reserve, the first one in Kerala, has an estimated population of 30 to 35 big cats whereas Parambikulam, the second reserve, has a population of 20 to 25 tigers. Cattle lifting by the ailing tigers and their straying into human habitations  have often triggered widespread public protests in the district. The department had to backtrack from its earlier attempts to notify the reserve following stiff public resistance. There were speculations that the notification would bring in stringent restrictions on development activities. ABOUT WAYANAD WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

  • LOCATION: Kerala, India.
  • EXTENT: 344.44 km2 with four ranges namely Sulthan Bathery, Muthanga, Kurichiat and Tholpetty.
  • BORDERS: It is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. It is bounded by protected area network of Nagarhole and Bandipur of Karnataka in the northeast, and on the southeast by Mudumalai of Tamil Nadu. It is part of the Deccan Plateau.
  • FLORA: Moist deciduous forest consists of maruthikarimaruthirosewoodventeakvengalchadachimazhukanjirambamboos, more, while the semi-evergreen patches comprises veteria indica., lagerstroemialanceolatatermianalia paniculata.
  • FAUNA: Elephantstigerspanthersjungle catscivet cats, monkeys, wild dogs, bisons, deer, bears, monitor lizards and a variety of snakes are seen.
  • Apart from that, Peacocks, babblers, cuckoos, owls, woodpeckers, jungle fowls are a few of the various types of birds seen here. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the safest havens for different species of vultures like the White-rumped Vultures and the Red-headed Vultures.
  • A monitoring programme of the Forest Department for 2017-18 has found that the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS), holds the largest tiger population in the State.
  • OTHERS: Wayanad district has the largest population of Adivasi in Kerala. Scheduled tribes here include Paniyas, Kurumas, Adiyans, Kurichiyas, Ooralis and Kattunaikkas.This wildlife sanctuary comes under Protect Elephant.

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