The Forest Department, having assessed the magnitude of damage inflicted by cyclone Gaja in Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary and surroundings, has sent a proposal to the government seeking funds for restoration work.
A major chunk of expenditure envisaged is for setting right the destruction caused to the infrastructure and buildings in Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary, Conservator of Forests Ramasubramanian told.
The department had, a few days after the cyclone, collected carcasses of 17 black bucks and a spotted deer and buried them. Carcasses of about 2000 birds that were found lying scattered on the nearby salt pans were disposed off.
Many birds were of migratory species. The birds could not withstand force of the wind and were pinned to the ground in an area spread over five square km. The animals were pushed by the wind into the sea and carcasses drifted in waves as far as shores of Vizhunthamavadi, Arcottuthurai and Velankanni, Mr. Ramasubramanian said.
Many staff quarters in Kodiakarai were damaged severely. Guest houses and office of the Ranger were battered. While a couple of guest houses have been closed, the office of the Ranger was cleaned up. Due to disruption of electricity caused by uprooted lamp posts, almost all families of the Forest Department staff had vacated the living quarters and they stay for the night at the office of the Ranger.
There is nothing much that the department can do as a huge investment is required. Since the intermittent rainfall that was witnessed following the cyclone is expected to continue for one more week, the commencement of restoration work will take more time, sources said.
Meanwhile, the department is able to witness sprouting of leaves from trunks of fallen trees as a fallout of continuous rainfall. This has raised hopes for revival of greenery in a matter of months.
The staff have been able to confirm the continued presence of black bucks in hundreds inside the sanctuary area. Since the black bucks and deer live in open grasslands, they were able to survive in the sanctuary. The absence of tall trees inside the sanctuary area had meant limited damage to the wildlife due to the cyclone.