Monday, January 16, 2006

Indegenous Knowledge


Tribals save elephant habitat

Tribals strengthen the bund of Sami Eri lake in Denkanikottai taluk in Krishnagiri.

At a time when everybody waits for Government help, here is a classic example of tribals saving themselves and a prime elephant habitat in the recent rain.

Kishnagiri district received the highest average rainfall this year. Many areas in the district particularly Thally, Kelamangalam and Krishnagiri received heavy rain - the highest in the last 10 years. While almost all major lakes and tanks breached and suffered damage, the Sami Eri lake in Aiyur forests - the main water source for elephants and other wild animals - was saved, thanks to the timely action of the Forest Department and tribals. Sami Eri lake in Aiyur Reserve Forests in the Denkanikottai Forest Range is one of the prime elephant habitats in the district with a lot of bamboos.

This area is to be brought under the proposed Cauvery Elephant Reserve. The lake also attracts migratory birds. During the heavy rain, the Lake started overflowing all along the western bund-cum-road. The central portion of the bund started breaching due to heavy water pressure in the lake.

A team headed by the Conservator of Forests, V.N. Singh and District Forest Officer, S. Paulraj rushed to the spot. A wireless message and alert was given to the Betamugilalam tribal hamlets.

Hundreds of tribals from Kottaiyur tribal colony in Betamugilalam reached the spot and started flood relief work.

The breach was plugged and the bund strengthened. According to Mr. Paulraj, "The ecologically-sensitive lake was saved thanks to the tribals. If not, flooding would have caused much damage."

S. Prasad writes in The Hindu, dated 13 November, 2005

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