The Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) in Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu is one of the protected areas having diverse flora and fauna. This region has got vegetation types which gradually changes from dry thorn forest to dry deciduous, moist deciduous and a patch of West coast wet evergreen forests on the higher reaches of the reserve. KMTR was declared as the “First Tiger Reserve of Tamil Nadu” and the 17th Tiger Reserve of the country. Forests of this reserve has rich biodiversity and endemism.
KMTR consists of 895 sq.km of core area consisting of two adjacent sanctuaries namely Kalakad Wildlife Sanctuary, Mundanthurai Tiger Sanctuary in Tirunelveli District and part of Veerapuli and Kilamalai Reserve Forests in Kanyakumari District. Mundanthurai Tiger Sanctuary was declared as Nation’s first Tiger Sanctuary during 1962 with a pioneering vision by Tamil Nadu much before Tiger conservation was a National focus. Kalakad Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1976 primarily for the conservation of Lion Tailed Macaque. KMTR consists of Buffer zone in the south consisting of 20136 Ha of Kanyakumari Wildlife sanctuary, in the North 3528 Ha of Nellai Wildlife Sanctuary and 46990.20 Ha of Eco Development zone in the East.
River Thamirabarani and 13 other rivers originate from KMTR and the rivers form the lifeline of Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Virudhunagar, Kanyakumari districts both for drinking water and agriculture. Hence, KMTR is called popularly as River Sanctuary.