Protection is the most important component of conservation and accorded top priority in Reserve management. All other management strategies are formulated to reinforce conservation of biodiversity in the Reserve. The various protection activities carried out at PTR include:
1. Consolidation and maintenance of boundary.
PTR has a long interstate boundary with Tamil Nadu, extending over 95km. This boundary is maintained by clearing a width of 10.4m once every two years. Inter-division, range and section boundaries are cleared to a width of 5.2m annually. Boundary demarcation is carried out by erecting concrete pillars (‘Jundas’) and boundary walls (‘Kayyalas’).
2. Preventing movement through illegal entry points.
Regular patrolling is carried out along various routes that have been identified as illegal entry points from Tamil Nadu. Many of these sites have permanent camping sheds.
3. Range protection plans
Each Range in the Reserve has developed specific Range Protection Plans, outlining patrolling schedules, camping sites at vulnerable locations, utilization of eco-development committee (EDC) member services for sandalwood protection, amongst other activities.
4.Deployment of special protection teams
Two strike forces have been developed under control of the Deputy Directors of the two Division. Units are equipped with a vehicle, Rapid Response Kits including night-vision binoculars, sufficient arms and ammunition, walkie-talkies, necessary camping gear etc. The strike force functions to gather intelligence, complement protection by conducting surprise checks and collaboration with Police, Excise and other enforcement agencies to detect illegal activities within the Reserve.
5. Developing strategies for specific issues in the Core
These include regulating vehicular traffic within the Reserve, Protection of the Mangaladevi area, regularization of watchers, collection of non-timber forest products (NTFP) and sand mining, cattle grazing, power lines, non-registration of fire arms etc.
In addition to these activities, the management of the Reserve places enormous importance on development of infrastructure such as communication facilities, buildings and anti-poaching camps, camping stations, watch-towers, check posts, roads, trek paths and barricades; capacity building to staff in the form of training in unarmed combat, survival skills, use of fire arms, first aid and swimming; and constant cooperation and sharing of information with the Police Department.