Periyar Tiger Reserve Current Affairs - 2020

Tyrannomyrmex alii: New ant species discovered in the Western Ghats

Researchers have discovered new species of ant in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala in Western Ghats, as one of the world’s ‘hottest hotspots’ of biological diversity. It has been named Tyrannomyrmex alii (or T. alii), after eminent myrmecologist Musthak Ali, who is regarded as the India’s ‘ant man’.

Key Facts

Tyrannomyrmex alii belongs to Tyrannomyrmex, a rare tropical genus of ants. It was discovered from Vallakadavu range of Western Ghats. It can be distinguished from other species of same genus through its morphological characteristics. It has petiolar shape.

Tyrannomyrmex is a rare myrmicine (subfamily of ants) ant genus that is distributed in Indomalayan bio-region that extends from southern India and Sri Lanka to southeast Asia. T. alli has is fourth species of the rare genus Tyrannomyrmex and the second one from India. The first species of genus was Tyrannomyrmex rex Fernández, was discovered in 2003 in Pasoh Forest Reserve, Malaysia. Later two more species Tyrannomyrmex dux (or T. dux) from the Ponmudi hills in 2007 and T. legatus from Sinharaja Forest Reserve in Sri Lanka in 2013 were discovered.  Both of Tyrannomyrmex species that described from India are known from Western Ghats range in Kerala.

Kerala’s Periyar tiger reserve wins NTCA biennial award

Periyar Tiger Reserve located in Kerala has won the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) biennial award for encouraging local public participation in managing the reserve.

Public participation in managing the Periyar Tiger Reserve

  • India Eco-Development project (IEDP): People’s participation started in the reserve in December 1996 by establishing India Eco-Development project (IEDP). It was a community-based eco-tourism initiative, which promoted tourism activities which helped visitors. It also promoted pepper growing in this region and marketing it.
  • Periyar Foundation: Later in 2006, reserve set up the Periyar Foundation which was a model for other reserves in biodiversity conservation and community participation in managing natural resources. It involved 75 communities living around the reserve, including tribal people.
  • There are around 19 different eco-tourism programmes apart from village eco-development programmes for public participation in managing the reserve.