Mahabali Frog, which buries itself all through the year and surfaces only one day to lay eggs, is waiting to be elevated as the State Frog of Kerala.
A proposal for assigning the official tag for the amphibian will once again come up before the State Wildlife Advisory Board, which is meeting on January 19. The frog ( Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) was named after the mythical King Mahabali, who visits his people once a year from the underneath world, explained researchers.
The declaration will go a long way in projecting Kerala as the ambassador of conservation of amphibians and its habitats. The species, also known as Purple Frog stands out with its evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered status. The conservation of Mahabali Frog will also help in conserving the aquatic ecosystems in the Western Ghats, the agenda noted.
Incidentally, researchers had been unsuccessfully campaigning for the nomination of the species for the past few years. Amphibians, which are considered as nature’s best insect and pest control agents, are largely neglected when it comes to conservation. Initiatives for elevating such species will garner more attention for the conservation and protection of such animal groups, said Sandeep Das, a herpetologist.
The Board, which is to meet after a gap of three years, will also consider a proposal to rename the Ponmudi Wildlife Sanctuary as Shankili Wildlife Sanctuary.
The renaming of the sanctuary has been proposed as its feared that the name Ponmudi may create a misunderstanding among public that many of the habitation and tourist areas in Ponmudi are part of the proposed Wildlife Sanctuary, according to the agenda of the meeting.
The proposals for de-notifying Pampa Valley/Angel Valley settlements from Periyar Tiger Reserve and the settlements from the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary will come up at the meeting. A few other proposals for obtaining the approval of the Board for the removal of felled trees from mono-culture plantations to restore natural vegetation in protected areas and applications seeking wildlife clearance for a host of construction and mining projects will also be considered.