Securing a sanctuary

THIN morning mist shrouded the Thunakadavu valley in the Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, which is nestled between the Anamalai hills of Tamil Nadu and the Nelliyampathy hills of Kerala. The honking of great hornbills, the whooping calls of Nilgiri langurs and the splashing of blue-finned mahseer in the reservoir indicated that possibly all was well with the sanctuary.

In the last three decades, I have visited Parambikulam several times. The trip I made in October 2009 was, however, special because I was keen to record the positive changes brought about in the management of the sanctuary since Sanjayan Kumar, a young officer of the Indian Forest Service, took over as warden in 2006. I had taught Sanjayan when he was a trainee at the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, in 2004-05, just before I retired from service. I also wanted to walk in areas I had not had a chance to do so before.