Thiruvananthapuram

Shendurney survey throws up interesting finds

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Annual venture records many first-time sightings of butterflies, birds and odonates

The annual faunal survey of the Shendurney Wildlife Santuary has thrown up interesting finds with new sightings of butterflies, birds and odonates being recorded for the first time.

The three-day endeavour, undertaken by the Forest Department in association with the Travancore Natural History Society (TNHS) a few days ago, witnessed 10 teams of experts recording the presence of 187 butterfly, 171 bird, 44 odonate, and 40 ant species in the 171 sq km sanctuary. Kattalapara, Kallar, Rockwood, Umayar Pandimotta, Alwarkuruchi, Idimuzghangan, Rosemala and Darbhakulam were the base camps selected for the survey.

Considered a haven for birds, the sanctuary witnessed the presence of the Sri Lanka bay owl, Northern pintail, Black-and-orange flycatcher, and the Green warbler for the first time, taking the number of bird species there up to 279. Among the other bird species sighted were the Great Indian Hornbill, River tern, Pratincoles and the Lesser fish eagle, considered rare.

The endemic species sighted included Blandford’s Laughingthrush, Wayanad Laughingthrust, Nilgiri wood pigeon, and Broad-tailed grassbird. While the Umayar region was found to have 117 bird species, 90 species were found in the Kattapalara region. The tally of other fauna in the region also went up — 286 butterflies, 96 odonate species and 41 ant species — following the survey. Among the butterflies, the interesting findings were the Southern Birdwing and the Oriental Grass Jewel, the largest and smallest butterfly species in the country respectively.

Lobed beak and Broad-tail Royal were additions to the butterfly fauna in Shendurney. The sanctuary is also abode to several endemic species including the Malabar Banded Swallowtail, Travancore Evening brown, Sahyadri Albatross, Banded Cats eye, Blue Nawab and Nilgiri tiger. Besides the Nilgiri Grass Yellow butterfly that was sighted in the Rosemala region, other rare species including the Scarce Shot Silverline, Sahyadri Rosy Oakblue, Golden Treeflitter, and the Tamil Dartlet were also spotted. The highest number of butterfly species was seen in the Rockwood region (117 species) followed by Kallar (103 species). The participants also documented 44 species of dragonflies and damselflies and mammals including the Travancore flying squirrel, Indian Civet, Brown Mongoose and Dhole. The presence of large mammals like tigers, elephants, leopard, Gaur and Sambar was observed.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 9:58:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/shendurney-survey-throws-up-interesting-finds/article30480014.ece

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