In the highest portions of the Hill, above 2,000 m, the forests give way to evergreen shoal – grassland mosaic, made of frost-tolerant Montana grasslands interspersed with pockets of stunted shoal forests in the valley- unique feature of the Western Ghats’s CEO system. The grassland -shoal CEO-system is found at all high altitude areas in the southern half of the Western Ghats. The native grass lands are famous for the kuris flowers which blossoms once in twelve years. The grasslands are the unique feature of the Upper Plateau.
The herbivorous wild life graze in the grassland which is also the home of numerous insects, butterflies and moths. Shoals are patches of dense isolated woods composed of evergreen trees occurring along the folds on the undulating plateau often associated with a stream in the middle. These often stretch down in the surrounding valleys, providing an invaluable corridor for animal movements. Shoals are probably one of the most valuable treasures of Kodak Hills -as the prime watershed and a shelter for wildlife.
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They are considered “living fossils” for their sheer antiquity and virtual non- regeneration . They are aesthetically unmatched. The shoals and grasslands safeguard the watershed of the Amaranth and Vagina basins, whereas the bare slopes hardly retrains% of the rainwater. The floor of the shoals, packed with water gradually. The biggest tragedy is that the extensive grass lands and shoals have been placed by alien trees such as eucalyptus, wattle and pine. These plantations have caused a discernible loss in water flow to the plains and a decline in the biodiversity.
In fact they are virtual green deserts, places that birds, insects and animals avoid. Kuris plants which grow in the shoals also got affected. Thanks to the efforts of the Plain Hill Conservation Council, an MONGO founded in 1985 now shoal trees are planted in many places through its project on Greenbelt around the Plains. The Forest Department is now removing the eucalyptus , wattle and pine and are favoring he growth of shoal vegetation again. This is a welcome move for biodiversity conservation in the wet temperate shoals of Catalonian .
The Save Kuris Campaign Council based in Kraal also organized a trekking through the Kuris hills between Catalonian and Unarm where Kuris grows in May 2006 before the scrunching flowers blossom. “This time we do not know to what extent the flowers would bloom. The plants are scattered all over and those are the lucky ones to have escaped the plunder. We’re undertaking a campaign to move the federal and the state governments to declare a ancestry to protect the shoal system,” said G. Aragua ,nature activist and co founder of the Save Kuris Campaign Council in 2006.
According to him “Kuris hills are integral to the upkeep of the human habitat, apart from conserving the shoal ecosystem. One species of kurtosis is expected to flower next year (2014)and other in 2018” Kuris flower is an endemic species in South India growing only in Animal, Inklings and Plain hills in Tamil Undue. It does not grow in any part of the world. Though there are about 50 varieties of Kuris, blue colored variety alone would bloom once in 12 years. It flowered in 2006 and we have to wait till 2018 to see it. Kuris Andrea temple in Catalonian dedicated to God Murmur also preserves this plants.
This temple is named after this flower as Scrunching Andrea and during the flowering season , the entire area is covered with this flower which attracts a quite a lot of tourists. The Battling Conservation Trust(MONGO) promotes the conservation of Plain Hills’ native plants and habitats by raising plant nurseries, establishing conservation gardens, working with the Forest Department to restore habitats and acquiring properties to ensure survival of specific species and ecosystems. There is a wide diversity of Endemic species in the Hill’s diverse CEO region.
Mammals such as Wild Bears are common in areas away from human habitation and cultivation. Threatened species in the park area include: Indian Elephant, Gaur (Wild Ox), Milling Tart and Grizzled Giant Squirrel. Bengal Tiger populations in the adjacent Nadir Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and the Project Tiger Slaked – Intramural Reserve in the Isothermally Hills could expand back into this area when it is better protected. The original proposal was (1986) for around sq km on the upper Plains OTOH for the preservation of the unique flora and fauna as also for the safeguarding of the watershed.
This proposal was refined by the Tamil Undue Forest Department in 1992 with the following components: 1, Animal corridors in the Upper Plains 2,Grizzled Giant Squirrel around Caricaturists Kombi area. 3,Bee Keeping Project 4, Analysis of Water sources. Both Plain Hill Conservation Council (PEACH),and the Angled Institute of Natural History(Nooks) raised strong voice in advocating National Park or Sanctuary status for the Plain Hills. The Thumbnail Government in response to years of PHs’s resisters appeal have appointed a Plain Hill National Park Committee in 1994.
Accepting the proposal the State government has notified the formation of a new wildlife sanctuary in Catalonian in 2013 under Section 26 AY(b) of Wildlife (Protection) Act , 1972. It is the State’s 12th sanctuary. The new sanctuary would be formed with forest areas from Dingily and Then’ districts. The total area of the new sanctuary in Catalonian would be 60,895. 482 hectares, which would be an extent of 608. 95 km. SEVEN RANGES At present the Catalonian Forest division has seven ranges – Catalonian, Perambulate, Devastation, Bombards, Bertram, Maneuver and Vanguard.
Additionally one more range from Plain will be added to the sanctuary. The Catalonian Forest division boasts of all types of forests in its ranges. This included semi-evergreen forests, south Indian moist deciduous forests, Southern dry mixed deciduous forests, southern Montana weatherboards and tropical evergreen forests. With the formation of a new sanctuary, the authorities could obtain funds from the Centre directly. Funds from Sanctuary Support Scheme could also be obtained. FAUNAL DIVERSITY The Park area are already among the protected areas of Thumbnail.
Their upgrade into Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park will increase their level of protection. It has preservation of shoals as its main objective. The remaining shoals of Catalonian are Bombay Shoal , Tiger Shoal, Uganda Shoal,Pampas Shoal,Kulak Shoal and Manhattan Shoal. The last one is the representation of the native . Wild life is now returning to Plain Hills from the hinter land where it had retreated in the sass and sass under serious poaching . Among which Gaur is endemic to the South Indian Hills . They don’t exist anywhere in the world.
Two elephant Corridors are found-one at Vanguard to Bertram and another in the Perambulate section. Panthers, two groups of Milling Tart, wildfowl and ungulates in Beriberi, Vanguard and Kulak are found. Elephants, barking deer, Indian Gaur, sambas, common languor, wild dogs, leopard and sloth bear, are some of the wildlife one wildlife sanctuary and communities living in and around the hills will have a great stake in it. It will help conserve rare biodiversity, one of Indian’s great treasures and an important legacy for future generations.
Through restoration activities CEO velveteen and low impact CEO tourism, the sanctuary will be able to provide Job opportunities that will not endanger the fragile hill environment. There are many water falls throughout the Park which are popular tourist attractions. Some of the prominent falls associated with the park are: Ninja Evade [Five House] (27 km from Catalonian), Bane, Bear Shoal (2 km from Catalonian), Fairy (5 km from Catalonian), Glen, Neptune rapids, Pampas (also called Vatican)(4 km from Catalonian), Silver Cascade (55 m (180 Ft) high, 8 km from Catalonian), Samba (8 km from Catalonian), Snake and Thaliana Falls.
The increasingly important economic role of CEO-tourism, including: trekking, hiking, camping, mountaineering, rock climbing and bird watching may help the locals to welcome this new Protected area. It remains to be seen whether the Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park will stimulate or stifle commercial development and tourism. The Park must balance short term financial benefits of the status quo versus long term stability of the natural and human community. PREHISTORIC SITES The Kulak Caves(Simms) and Dolmen Circles (Simms)are famous prehistoric archaeological sites.
There is a proof of settlement of prehistoric tribes at Catalonian y visible artifacts such as dolmens and tombs in many places. They are the dwellings and burial places of the people of Stone and Iron Age They are fantastic stone of two very large erect stone slabs topped by large flat slab. Many such dwellings were destroyed but even now they are seen in Perusal Peak and Panamanian area. Father Angled of the Sacred Heart College ,Catalonian identified 132 dolmens in Catalonian region. The average breath of the chambers is 3. 4 feet ,average height is 4. Feet ,maximum length is 11. Feet and the minimum is 5. 2 feet. Their presence dating back to BIBB. C put Catalonian in the Archaeological map of India. These dolmen builders were the first known inhabitants of this Hill. Models of dolmens and the original burial urn that were unearthed during the Archaeological excavations can be seen in the Shenanigans Museum , Catalonian Papilla and Pulaski are the two popular tribal people of Catalonian. Until very recently their offspring practiced shifting cultivation and lived off wild fruits and honey. They live in small hamlets in huts and government constructed colonies.
In many places such as Kombi near Palling these tribes refused to occupy the tone houses constructed by the Government out of fear that it may fall on them. They still live in the stick and dry grass huts with small entrance and practice tribal culture. For others the sedentary life started with the construction of group houses by the government in the early sixties. Those interested in tribal tourism can visit these places. Kulak Caves show traces of the leaf clothed Plains. For those interested in the adventurous holiday Kulak is an excellent camping site.
Many native tribal people in the Plain Hills have partially assimilated in to modern culture. Museum. TREKKING SITES Catalonian has 1. 52 lack acres of land under forest with 1. 40 lack acres being reserve forests. Forest law protects the immensely beautiful forests. Tourists need special permission to go Upton Bertram lake. Vehicles whether two wheeler or four wheelers are not permitted to go beyond Bertram. There are two roads from Bertram leading to Muar and Savanna. They are blocked for traffic and they have turned into perfect trekking spots.