Agasthyavanam Biological Park
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|Agasthyavanam Biological Park|
The Agasthyavanam Biological Park was established in 1997. Its name derives from the famous Agastimalai Agasthyakoodam Peak, which is visible at a distance from the park. The Government of India formed a committee in 1992 with the view to conduct a feasibility study in the area to determine if a biological park could be established. The committee's recommendation was that there was such a possibility. They suggested that only selective species of plant and animals be introduced in the biological area.
Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve (100% centrally sponsored Scheme)
Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve (ABR) was notified on 12 November 2001 under UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme. The ABR falls exclusively in Kerala, covering an area of 1701 km2. The forest tracts of Neyyar, Peppara, Shendumey wildlife Sancturias and Achencoil, Thenmala, Konni, Punalur, Thiruvananthapuram Divisions and Agasthyavanam Special Division is included in ABR.
For the co-ordination of the activities of various departments in the B.R. area and for ensuring the scientific management of the B.R., a local committee and state level Biosphere Management Committee were also constituted as per GOI guidelines.
- 1281 ha.of area has been evicted from Mathikettan Shola and it has been declared as a National Park.
- Including Agasthyamala 1701 km2. area declared as Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve.
The Agasthyavanam Project
In 1992, the Government of Kerala constituted a scientific committee to study the feasibility of setting up a Biological park in the highly degraded forest area of Kottoor. The committee suggested that the ultimate objective of the endeavor be to regenerate, conserve and propagate selected wild flora and fauna. The area earmarked had negligible tree and animal population despite its abundant water resources. The soil was found to be fertile and the climate salubrious. The flora and fauna, which existed here previously, should have been the representatives of Western Ghats.
The Kottoor Reserve forests lie in the Paruthipalli range of the Trivandrum forest division. It lies on the western slopes of the Western Ghats, at the south-east corner in Nedumangad taluk. It is contiguous with the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary in the southwest borders and the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary in the northeast. The highly degraded nature of this area was the reason for not including it in any of the sanctuaries.
The total estimated area of the park is 23 km2. Of this 17.5 km2 is to be converted to thick jungle, the rest is for manipulative conservation programs. Conservatories will be established for a variety of plant species and for the reintroduction, production, breeding and propagation of wild animals and birds.
In spite of the good rainfall received, the quick drainage of water from the area to the Arabian Sea leaves the place barren for around six months. Small check dams, if built, can retain water in small ponds and preserve the humidity and moisture, promoting vegetation growth in the dry season. Thus the Agasthyavanam Project, in short, aims at ecotourism, afforestation and conservation.
Objectives of the Project:
- Regeneration and eco-restoration of the degraded forest of Kottoor Reserve.
- Scientific conservation of the existing flora and fauna.
- To create maximum biodiversity by reintroducing the extinct endemic species.
- To achieve maximum, sustainable utilization of water and soil.
- To facilitate documentation of flora and fauna.
- To encourage research and eco-tourism
The administrative responsibility of this park lies with the Wildlife Warden, Trivandrum. The airport and railway station at Trivandrum are very close to the Reserve. Bus routes extend to Bonakkadu near vithura 35 km walk unavoidable to reach and other Bus route is Trivandrum-Kattakada - Kuttichal -Kotoor- Chonapara Tribel settlement. This is the easy way go by KSRTC Bus station. There are lodges and hotels in KUTTICHAL,32 km from trivandrum, and kuttichal, 08 km from Neyyar Dam, 20 km from ponmudi and 08 km from agastya vanam biologikkal park, India's first biological park.
A maximum of 50 people per day are allowed into the park. Visitors are issued an entry pass from the Trivandrum Wildlife Division against payment of Rs 50. It is better to halt at Athiramal, as there are no accommodation near the park.
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