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  India   All India  07 Dec 2016  ‘Iron lady’ Jayalalithaa had soft corner for animals

‘Iron lady’ Jayalalithaa had soft corner for animals

THE ASIAN AGE. | C S KOTTESWARAN
Published : Dec 7, 2016, 3:48 am IST
Updated : Dec 7, 2016, 6:35 am IST

During her tenure as chief minister she had always found time to christen the tiger and lion cubs born at Vandalur zoo.

Despite her busy schedule the CM always found time to christen the cubs born at Vandalur zoo. (Photo: DC)
 Despite her busy schedule the CM always found time to christen the cubs born at Vandalur zoo. (Photo: DC)

Chennai:The two iron ladies of Indian political history, Indira Gandhi and J. Jayalalithaa, had something in common: love for wildlife and animal kingdom. All through her life Jayalalithaa had a soft corner for elephants and dogs. During her tenure as chief minister she had always found time to christen the tiger and lion cubs born at Vandalur zoo.

The six-time CM was also instrumental in establishing the Cauvery wildlife sanctuary and Butterfly park in Srirangam. She also declared the formation of Sathyamangalam tiger reserve once controlled by dreaded forest brigand Veerappan. Concerned over the increasing pollution in Chennai, she made a suo moto announcement in the Assembly declaring restoration of Pallikaranai marsh, recalls a chief conservator of forest at Panagal building, the state forest headquarters. “Three years ago there was a call from CM office enquiring about the sudden death of tiger cubs, so much is the love she had for animals”, the official noted.

She always loved animals and will select Tamil names to christen the newborn in zoo. Karnaa, Meera, Thaara, Bheema, Chellam and Krishna were some of the names she chose for the white tiger cubs and elephant calves, recalls the top officer.

“I remember the forest officers working meticulously calculating the micro nutrient and the diet that had to given to the pachyderms during the rejuvenation of temple elephant camps, and I found that the officers were showing special interest on the project as the CM was keen to know about the food diet and rest given to temple jumbos,” says wildlife biologist A. Kumaraguru of Sathyamangalam Tiger Conservation Foundation. Indira Gandhi was instrumental in formulating the wildlife protection Act saving the Indian wildlife and in case of Tamil Nadu, it was Jayalalithaa who always had the time and passion for wildlife.

“Every year, during the state budget or the during the Assembly sessions, I would ask my friends in the media  about Amma’s announcements  for animals and nature. Their replies were always interesting. Pallikaranai restoration, free live stock scheme, Nanmangalam forest restoration and the list goes on”, opines bird watcher K.V.R.K. Thirunaranan, founder, The Nature Trust.

Tags: jayalalithaa dead
Location: India, Tamil Nadu, Chennai (Madras)