Taking a cue from the UNESCO's Man and Biosphere program, the government of India has established the Seshachalam Biosphere Reserve on 20th September, 2010. The reserve is the first biosphere reserve in Andhra Pradesh and the 17th in India. By size, it is the 9th largest in India. The reserve aims to support the conservation of species in situ by supporting economic and social development. It is home to a number of endemic species including the famous Red Sanders and Slender Loris. Being close to the pilgrim areas of Tirupati, the reserve also has a number of temples and holy places to visit. The hilly terrain offers some spectacular trekking opportunities too. Many scientific studies have been and are being conducted in the reserve. [Read More]
People and people management form an integral part of the reserve. Since the aim of the reserve is to develop people, a substantial part of the resources are aimed at people. The native population of the reserve includes the tribes of Yanadis. By reducing the competition between man and animals for forest resources and by decreasing the number of man-animal conflicts, we aim to re-establish a balance in the ecosystem. The majority of the people dependent on the forest fall outside the reserve. A small number of people live in the outermost zone - the transistion zone. For more about our people-centric initiatives, please click here.
The reserve covers areas of great historical and religious significance. The Sri Venkateswara Temple, famous as the Tirupati Balaji temple lies within the reserve. A number of pre-historic paintings and carvings have been found in the region. In the medieval times, this region was the center of power for many kingdoms and hence, a rich history exists. In the more modern times, the French merchant-traveller, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, visited the area in his fourth voyage and wrote an account of the forest and animals. This was the first written account of the forests by a European. This account describes the existence of elephants in the forest, which have dwindled since then. In the British times, the hunter-writer Kenneth Anderson hunted in these forests and made a number of accounts on his experiences. In the book Man Eaters and Jungle Killers, he writes about two tigers - The Striped Terror of Chamala Valley and Mamandur Man Eater, which shows the presence of tigers which are now extinct in this area. Now, the region is a hub for pilgrims for its temples, for trekkers for its rugged terrain and stunning biodiversity and for nature-lovers for its eco-tourist spots. [Read More]