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The Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve has a large number of employees of the Electricity Board and Public Works Department who stay in three colonies and work at Karayar, Upper Dam, Servalar and Upper Kodayar reservoirs within the reserve. Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation has a 33.88 km land in the core area of the reserve leased from singampatti zamin valid until 2028. The Company has tea and coffee plantations and three factories, and employs about 10,000 workers in the reserve.

There are several small estates and five Kani Tribal habitations, consisting of about 102 families. About 145 hamlets situated within 5 km of the 110 km eastern boundary of the reserve are inhabited by 100,000 people. There are about 50,000 cattle grazing out of these fringe villages, with a small number of cattle owned by the tea estate workers and residents of the electricity board colonies.

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