Herpetofauna Survey – 11-09-2023

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    Syllabus: GS-3/Biodiversity and Conservation

    In News

    • The first Herpetofauna Survey was conducted in Kerala’s South Wayanad Forest Division. 

    About

    • Herpetofauna survey is done to identify and list all reptiles and amphibians such as frogs that can possibly be present within the proposed area.
    • This survey was organised jointly by the Forest department, South Wayanad Forest Development Agency, and Aranyakam Nature Foundation.

    Key Findings:

    • As many as 67 species of reptiles and 59 species of amphibians were identified in the survey.
      • Out of 126 species identified, 48 amphibians and 21 reptiles are endemic to the Western Ghats.
      • The four amphibians and three reptiles were spotted for the first time at the forest division. 
    • Species found:
      • Important Amphibian species include Starry Night Frog (bearing a constellation of blue dots on its obsidian body), Miniature Night Frog (the tiniest frog in the country), the Naked Dancing Frog.
      • Endangered species such as Malabar Torrent Toad and Red Stream Toad.
      • Wayanad Dravidogecko, Nilgiri Spiny Lizard, and the Nilgiri Forest Lizard were also found.

     About Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary 

    • It is located in Kerala and was declared a Sanctuary in 1973.
    • The sanctuary is a component of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO designated) and is a vital component of the Elephant Reserve No. 7 of South India.
    • Highest peak: Karottimala 
    • Forest Types: South Indian Moist Deciduous forests, West coast semi-evergreen forests and plantations of teak, eucalyptus and Grewelia. 
    • It is the only sanctuary of Kerala where sightings of four-horned antelopes have been reported.
    • The presence of Egyptian vultures, Himalayan griffon, and Cinereous vultures are also reported in the sanctuary and the two species of vultures, red-headed and white-backed vultures, once common in Kerala, are now restricted to the Wayanad plateau.
    • Kabini river (a tributary of the Cauvery river) flows through the sanctuary.
    • Other wildlife parks within the Reserve: Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Bandipur National Park, Nagarhole National Park, Mukurthi National Park and Silent Valley.

    Source: TH