This image was taken on June 3rd, 2014 at Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) in Tamil Nadu. We were driving from Aliyar in the foothills to Valparai and a group of around 50 tourists were cheering and screaming, we got down to see what was going on. An amazing drama was unfolding in front of us — a herd of elephants (7) were chasing away a pack of dhole (around 20) along the banks of the Aliyar reservoir!
As this road passes through the heart of the tiger reserve, it is prohibited to get down from vehicles. Unfortunately, this rare spectacle was being enjoyed and cheered like a movie screening! Incidents like these don’t just create disturbance for animals but also sometimes go unnoticed by forest officials. While the forest department has several check posts along this road, and their staff regularly patrol the road, it is nearly impossible to monitor the entire stretch of the road all the time. Wildlife sightings are common and it frequently leads to crowding.
On weekends and holidays, Valparai becomes a typical ‘hill station’ and we have seen people getting down, eat, drink, consume alcohol and create all sorts of ruckus.
Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
Roads passing through wildlife reserves sometimes offer spectacular sightings, but heavy traffic and indisciplined tourists are a huge menace. With Forest Department lacking the manpower to patrol every kilometre of such roads, it would be sensible to involve local conservation watchdog groups for volunteer patrols on weekends and holidays.