Language: Bilingual in English and Tamil
Many field guides usually focus on a single group (taxon). For those interested in identifying the most common plants and animals, it becomes necessary to carry many such books to the field. Field guides in general use technical terms that can be intimidating to most people, especially children. Among these, a very few cater to the needs of those who cannot read English.
This nature guide aims at overcoming these practical difficulties. In a single book 392 species belonging to 6 taxa have been described. Though it is a small number for a diverse landscape like Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR), these species of plants and animals represent what are most likely to be encountered even on a short visit to the reserve. Most scientific terms have been simplified and at the same time care has been taken not to omit essential information about the species. Symbols, illustrations and pictures have been used to reduce the amount of. text and make it user-friendly. Pictures have been carefully selected not only based on photographic merit but also those portraying key features. To cut across the language barrier, the text is in Tamil, the native language of the local population in and around the reserve in addition to English.
Treasures on Tiger Tracks is meant for children and youth, but anybody interested in knowing the plants and animals of the reserve will find it useful. For further reference and information, books mentioned in the bibliography at the end of the guide can be referred.
Treasures on Tiger Tracks is also an attempt to bridge the disconnect that exists between the people who live around the reserve and the forests in their backyard. ln spite of the fact that a large number of religious and casual tourists visiting the reserve, important rivers originating here and about 190 villages abutting the reserve, knowledge and awareness of the local flora and fauna among the people is poor. This is generally attributed to decreased dependence on the forest due to legislations that bar people from extracting forest produce, and more currently to changing lifestyles. A dearth of books in the regional language conveying information about the local flora, fauna and conservation issues is also a reason for this ignorance.
The authors hope this nature guide will help NGOs, schools, colleges and forest departments to kindle interest in nature among younger generations. Treasures on Tiger Tracks could also serve as a window to nature's treasures strewn inside the reserve which otherwise a casual tourist might miss out. Together this could perhaps build stewardship for conservation in the region. Though the guide is specifically meant for KMTR, it can be used in the surrounding reserves and in most other parts of the Westem Ghats, where the same species occur with the exception of a few endemics.