The Anamalai Tiger Reserve has a long management history since 1848. It is the erstwhile Coimbatore South Forest division, which was a model forest division for the Madras State. Till 1879 Anamalais was one range under the charge of Sub-Assistant Conservator.
Anamalai Tiger Reserve is carved out of the Tamil Nadu portion of the Anamalais. The Tamil Nadu part of the reserve is called as Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR). It lies South of the Palakkad gap in the Southern Western Ghats. Geographically it is located between the longitudes 76o and 77o E and latitudes 10o and 10o N. The Anamalai Tiger Reserve falls within the Western Ghats mountain chain of South West India, a region designated as one of 25 Global Biodiversity Hotspots. The biogeographical classification of the country includes Western Ghats which are considered as one of eight “hottest hot spots”. The Tiger Reserve falls in four revenue taluks namely; Pollachi, and Valparai of Coimbatore district and Udumalpet of Tiruppur District and Kodaikanal taluk in Dindigul district in the State of Tamilnadu. The official headquarters of Anamalai Tiger Reserve is at Pollachi. Administratively, it falls under the Tamilnadu Forest Department.
The Statement of Significance
The Anamalai Tiger Reserve possesses diverse fauna and flora, well representative of the region. The Tiger Reserve supports diverse habitat types viz. Wet evergreen forests, semi evergreen forests, moist deciduous, dry deciduous, dry thorn and shola forests. Other unique habitats like montane grass lands, savannah and marshy grass lands are also present. Considerable extent of man-made teak plantations, exotics like eucalyptus, wattle, pines and deep fresh water ecosystem created by the construction of Parambikulam Aliyar Project dams etc, add to the diversity of the place.
The endemism of the vegetation is very rich in the Tiger Reserve. There is a long list of red, endangered and threatened species of plants (≥ 39) distributed and well protected in the Tiger Reserve, The diversity of bamboos, canes, reeds, palms is also unique and interesting. Rich diversity of ferns including tree ferns with endemic elements is noticed.
The Tiger Reserve supports healthy population of several endangered wild animals (Fishes ≥ 70 species, Amphibians ≥ 70 species, Reptiles ≥ 120 species, Birds ≥ 300 species, Mammals >= 80 species. The presence of more than 25 tigers underscores the healthiness of this eco system.
Anaimalais is worth to be designated as ‘Anthropological Reserve’ as it supports 6 indigenous people viz. Malasar, Malai malasars, Kadars, Eravallars, Pulayars and Muduvars. This is very unique in the entire Tamil Nadu and probably the only Tiger Reserve with diverse groups of indigenous people.
The Parambikulam – Aliyar Project and Amaravathy dam housed in the Anaimalais, play a vital role in the regional economy by providing water and power. The agricultural prosperity of the plains in Pollachi, Udumalpet and hilly taluk of Valparai, adjoining areas in Erode district, depends very much on this Tiger Reserve.
Besides that one Eco shop run by the EDC is functioning at Topslip. Souvenirs like T-shirts, Caps, Eucalyptus oil, Lemongrass oil, Etc., are available at the shop. Tourists desirous of getting the items Souvenirs can do so by payment of the required cost.
The total area of the Tiger Reserve is 958.59 sq.km.
The Tiger Reserves holds a large number of population of endangered species of fauna and flora. The Tiger Reserves supports diverse habitat types. The floral diversity of the Tiger Reserve is extraordinary.
It supports more than 2500 species of Angiosperms
70 species of fishes, 70 species of amphibians.
More than 39 RED, Endangered and Threatened species of plants.
120 species of reptiles, 300 species of birds and 80 species of mammals.
Anamalais, a bio-diversity hotspot in western ghats is a home for six different indigenous people and is fit to be designated as an anthropological reserve.
Malai Malasars are a primitive tribal group endemic to Anamalais alone.