Kalakad-Mundanthurai-Tiger Reserve was started during the year 1988, area of 800 sq. kms in the southern most western ghat ranges of Tirunelveli Kottabomman district. The great diversity of edaphic and climatic features Of this conservation unit has led to rich biodiversity of fauna and flora. 32 species of flora and 17 of faunal species are already recorded as highly endangered.
Being a newly created tiger Reserve steps have already been taken up to provide adequate infrastructure and protection to the reserve. The relocation of the village settlements from the core area has already been taken on a priority basis. Various management activities similar to other project tiger areas and site specific requirements of the project have already been planned and initiated since 1990-1991. The legal status as a National Park is still pending.
The Population of the tiger was reported as 81, during 1989. Similar to other project tiger areas, the census of tigers and herbivores has also been planned on a regular basis at an interval of 2 years.
The beginning in Kalakad-Mundanthurai is quite encouraging. On account of high biodiversity areas, this reserve has also been identified for eco-development funding under the Global Environment facility.
This reserve has inadequate staff and they are not adequately armed. Poachers of all kind frequent this reserve and to counter this threat both staff and arms are essential. This mountainous reserve requires a committed and dedicated team to patrol and monitor it.
The reserve has four reservoirs and perennial rivers with deep pools. It is important to enhance the fish resources of the reserve for the future of the otter, brown fish. Owl and grey headed fishing eagle.
The establishing of wireless stations at strategic points in the Park is vital for its effective management. Cattle grazing in areas where the Tahr is found must be restricted as much as possible. There are some adjacent forests areas in Kannyakumari district and Courtalam Forest Range of Tirunelveli which should be added to the reserve for better protection of the entire forest area.
In this reserve Chital are only found on Mundanthurai Plateau where their number seems to be declining as a result of thickening of the vegetation and competition with cattle. Livestock grazing requires to be banned in this area. The interior rain forests where poachers come to collect cane, cardamom, cinnamom bark etc require intensive patrolling which will act as a deterrent to the poachers. Caves that are used by sandal and cane poacher, should be identified and raided regularly.
There has been little research done in this reserve and it is vital in the future interest, that a research officer trained in wildlife biology be appointed so as to commence his important work.
This reserve has recently come under the umbrella of Project Tiger and requires a series of management inputs to ensure the future health of the area.