Srivilliputhur-Megamalai Tiger Reserve
The recently declared Srivilliputhur-Megamalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu will provide protection to Megamalai, the Vaigai’s primary catchment, in turn helping water levels to rise in the river.
- Origin and Tributaries:
- It originates in the Western Ghats (Varushanad Hills).
- It travels through the Pandya Nadu regionof Tamil Nadu.
- Its main tributaries are Suruliyaru, Mullaiyaru, Varaganadhi, Manjalaru, Kottagudi, Kridhumaal and Upparu.
- The Vaigai is 258 kms longand finally empties into the Palk Strait near the Pamban Bridge in Ramanathapuram district.
- Heritage River:
- The Vaigai was the river that flowed through the noted city of Madurai, the capital(4th-11thcentury CE) of the ancient and prosperous Pandya kingdom located in southern Tamil Nadu.
- The river finds a mention in Sangam literature dated to 300 before the Common Era.
- The river fulfils the drinking water requirement of five districts of Tamil Nadu namely Theni, Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Sivagangai and Dindigul.
- It also provides irrigation to 2,00,000 hectares of agricultural land.
Srivilliputhur-Megamalai Tiger Reserve:
- It was established in February 2021.It was jointly declared by the Centre and Tamil Nadu governments.
- For this, the Megamalai WLS and the adjoining Srivilliputhur WLS were clubbed together.
- Srivilliputhur-Megamalai Tiger Reserve is the fifth Tiger Reserve of Tamil Nadu, and 51thtiger reserve of India.
- Ecological Diversity:
- Animals seen here are Bengal tiger, elephants, gaur, Indian giant squirrel, leopard, Nilgiri Tahrs,
- It has a mix of tropical evergreen forests and semi-evergreen forests, dry deciduous forests and moist mixed deciduous forests, grassland.