Many species under threat in Telangana: report

Lesser Flamingo

Lesser Flamingo

Telangana State may soon cease to be home for quite a few species of fauna which are not facing any immediate threat to their existence in other parts of the world.

A recently compiled report by the Osmania University’s zoology and botany departments lists many species which are under threat in the State, even while they figure in the low risk classification of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Red List.

Titled ‘Threatened taxa of Telangana State: assessment and documentation’, the report lists 97 species of flora and fauna which are most likely threatened in the State. The list could grow beyond 170 species at the end of the project, informed professors C. Srinivasulu and M. Venkata Ramana, who carried out the survey.

The department is studying over 2,500 species in order to document the biodiversity of Telangana.

Those studied include flowering plants and vertebrates, including fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Micro-organisms, protists, algae, fungi and other invertebrates were not included owing to dearth of State-level database and information.

The report lists 25 species of flowering plants, 12 fish species, nine species of reptiles, one amphibian, 27 of birds, and 23 of mammals as threatened in the State.

Numbers are falling drastically for quite a few among these, though they are in good numbers in other habitats, as can be deciphered by their IUCN status ‘Least Concern’.

They include Small Indian Civet, Palm Civet, Ratel, Ruddy Mongoose, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer, Indian Flying Squirrel, Golden Gecko, and Nagarjuna’s Skink.

Some other species marked as ‘Near Threatened’ by IUCN, for which sightings have come down in the State, include Hyena and Common Otter among mammals, and Malabar Pied Hornbill, Ferruginous Duck, Lesser Flamingo, Black-necked Stork, Spot-billed Pelican, Darter, Laggar Falcon, Grey-headed Fish-eagle, Pallid Harrier, Great Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, and Eurasian Curlew among birds.

Still others, listed either in ‘Least Concern’ or ‘Near Threatened’, have recorded few or rare sightings in the State, which means that the numbers are found to be very few, though it cannot be said with certainty that they have dropped.

For example, among reptiles, Banded Krait listed under ‘Least Concern’ category, is known only from one location in Telangana, says Prof.Srinivasulu.

The species could be found only in Eturu Nagaram Wildlife Sanctuary now, whereas records from 1912 suggest that the snake was hunted in a stream in Narsampet which is over 130 kilometres away from Eturu Nagaram location. The latest sighting of the reptile was in 2007. Other reptiles, Saw-scaled Viper, Indian Egg Eater, Ashwamedh’s Supple Skink are rarely seen here, despite being listed under ‘Least Concern’ category.

While many species of fish are listed under the ‘Data Deficient’ category internationally, in Telangana too definite data is not available, except common knowledge.

“Biologists argue about unreported occurrences. But flagging the species based on known information will lead to further studies on them. It could prompt the government to declare their habitats as Biodiversity Heritage Sites,” says Prof. Srinivasulu.

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Printable version | Aug 25, 2022 10:03:36 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/Many-species-under-threat-in-Telangana-report/article14663064.ece