“The tiger sees me daily”

Sreenivasan K was recognised by the Government for his knowledge and efforts at tiger monitoring in the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve.

I cannot express my happiness at this recognition. I have worked very hard and it fills me with such joy that my eyes well up,” says Sreenivasan K on being recognised by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate for his knowledge and efforts at tiger monitoring in the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve. He is one of the six Frontline Staff — Forester, Forest Guard, Watcher — from across India who was feted.

Nicknamed Tiger Sreeni, he was born and raised in the forests of Parambikulam, where he lives with his wife and three children. As a child, Sreenivasan would accompany his father who was a mahout and explored the forests thus.

Vysak Sasikumar, Deputy Director, IFS, Parambikulam Tiger Reserve says, “ Sreeni belongs to the Malasar group, one of the four tribal communities in the hills, and has been working with us for the past 20 years. He began as a watcher and assisted forest staff in patrolling.”

Ten years ago the forest department began scientific wildlife management and constituted a tiger monitoring team of 13 members, all of whom belong to the tribes from the area. Sreeni was a part of this as his knowledge of reading landscape was exceptional.