Adansonia trees can easily live from 500 to 1,000 years, with a height of 30 metres. They tend to achieve a trunk diameter of 10 to 12 metres. Though the Forest Department notified the tree as historic, nothing much was done to conserve it, claim biologists here . They warn that such rare trees could be wiped off from Tamil Nadu due to rapid urbanisation unless special care is taken “A few years ago, a biologist, who visited our petrol pump station urged us to take care of the tree estimating that the tree will be easily around 400 years old,” recalls B Karthick, manager, Bharat Petroleum outlet at Greams Road. “The tree not only gave us shade, but it was a symbol of majesty. Soon after informing the Forest Department, when it collapsed, the logs were cut, after they ruled out the possibility of translocating it,” Karthick said adding that there are plans to plant neem or mango saplings in memory of the trees called Yaanai Kaal Maram, which translates to Elephant foot tree in English. Around eight species of baobabs are found all over the world, mostly endemic to Africa. “We have such trees in Madurai, Sivaganga and Sathyamangalam region,” said Shekhar Kumar Niraj, special secretary, Tamil Nadu Forest Department, stating that these trees were exotic breed brought to India during the colonial era.
“Tamil Nadu still has such massive trees and if they are documented we can leave a better database for our future, ” said retired Principal Chief Forests Conservator Rajeev K Srivastava, who is now the Chief Environment Advisor to Metro Rail.