Heritage tag will attract more visitors

Ecotourism activities in the World Heritage Sites of the Western Ghats may be streamlined after assessing the carrying capacity of the individual sites. While inscribing the 39 serial sites of the Ghats, the World Heritage Committee has asked India to initiate “proactive responsible tourism management in anticipation of increased future visitation, and to ensure that visitation remains within the capacity of the property.”

Lookout towers have been put up inside Neyyar, Peppara, and Agasthyavanam forests to spot wild animals.

At 6 a.m. on all days, except Sunday, Bhagavan Kani, a forest tribal, clambers up a narrow bamboo ladder to get to a watch house atop a tall tree deep inside the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary to keep a look out for wild elephants.

A wildlife survey for the critically endangered Malabar Civet has led to the “first authenticated sighting” of an adult tigress near Athirumala, between Neyyar and Peppara wildlife reserves, almost 60 km northeast of the capital city.

P.K. Jayakumar Sharma, Wildlife Warden, Neyyar, said wildlife researcher A. Mathews Nixon Armstrong had on January 24 set up a camera trap deep inside the moist deciduous lowland forests of the Western Ghats to spot the elusive civet.

K.S. Sudhi

KOCHI: The existence or not of pygmy elephants (

Deep inside the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, some 20 km from the fringe of the forest, ten Kani men and six Kani women are engaged in digging a large pond. This is the first work being carried out in a tribal settlement in Thiruvananthapuram district under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).

Human-elephant conflict in Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary and adjacent areas was studied based on observational methods during the year 1993 to 1996 as a part of project studying the large mammals in the sanctuary. Major animals engaged in crop damage were wild boar and elephant. The animals involved in crop damage were mainly lone males, in the case of elephants and most of the raids were at night.