A three-day rapid survey conducted recently within the Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary in Kollam district to list the amphibian species has recorded the presence of twenty nine species of frogs in the sanctuary. The survey gives hopes for identifying more species of frogs there through a detailed survey.
K.J. Varghese, Conservator of Forests (Agastyamala Biological Park) told The Hindu that on the basis of the findings of the rapid survey, the Forest Department will undertake a detailed amphibian study in the sanctuary. He said it is the first time such a survey was undertaken in the sanctuary.
The survey has also brought to light for the first time on the presence of such varied species of frogs in the sanctuary. Their identification reveals the rich biodiversity within the sanctuary, Mr. Varghese said. The survey team comprised thirteen persons led by the veterinary surgeon and naturalist, Anil Zacharia.
P.I. Pradeep Kumar, Wildlife Warden of the sanctuary said that of the twenty nine species found, 23 are endemic to the Western Ghats. They also comprise seven new species discovered after the year 2000. The Myristica swamp in the lower reaches of the sanctuary was found to be the ideal breeding ground for many of the frog species.
The amphibian species endemic to the Western Ghats found in the sanctuary include the Malabar tree toad, dusky torrent frog, Alicia’s night frog, Beddome’s night frog, Malabar India frog, variable bush frog, Anil’s bush frog, Beddome’s bush frog, small wrinkled frog, small bush frog, Ponmudi bush frog, Kani bush frog, Kalpetta bush frog, large Ponmudi bush frog and the Malabar flying frog. Other frogs found include the chunam frog, the bronze frog, golden frog, dot frog, Indian bull frog, Kerala warty frog, Indian pond frog, skittering frog and the ridged toad.
The sanctuary was divided into three sites for the survey — Kattilapara, Rockwood Estate and Pandimotta. At Kattilapara, fourteen species were found; at Rockwood Estate, thirteen species, and at Pandimotta, eight species were found. The survey team also comprised Jafer Palot from the Zoological Survey of India and E.
Kunhikrishnan from the Zoology Department of the University College, Thiruvananthapuram.