Syllabus: GS-3/Biodiversity and Conservation
- The first Herpetofauna Survey was conducted in Kerala’s South Wayanad Forest Division.
- 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.
- 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.