In a first, Eravikulam National Park gets a fernarium

The new initiative aims to increase awareness among visitors about the park’s biodiversity

April 03, 2023 02:14 am | Updated 03:05 am IST - IDUKKI

Eravikulam National Park (ENP)in Munnar, has set up a Fernarium inside the park. Photo: Special Arrangement

Eravikulam National Park (ENP)in Munnar, has set up a Fernarium inside the park. Photo: Special Arrangement

Eravikulam National Park (ENP), the natural habitat of Nilgiri tahr in Munnar, has a new attraction — a Fernarium set up inside the park. According to officials, this is the first time such a fern collection has been established in the hill station.

Job J. Neriamparampil, assistant wildlife warden, ENP, said that 52 varieties of ferns have already been planted in the new Fernarium. “As per data, ENP has 104 varieties of ferns. We have planned to increase the number of ferns inside the park to cover all 104 varieties soon,” said Mr. Neriamparampil.

“The fern park has been set up near the orchidarium and will be opened to the public on April 20,” said Mr. Neriamparampil.

“ENP is one of the rich biodiversity areas, and the new initiatives aim to provide visitors with awareness about the park’s biodiversity,” said the official.

Jomy Augustine, a noted botanist, said that ferns are the ecological indicator of healthy forests. “The climatic condition inside the ENP is more suitable for growing ferns,” said Dr. Augustine.

“Ferns are part of the Epiphytic family. They grow naturally in a soilless condition. The plants obtain water and nutrients through leaching from trees. A large number of ferns are on the trees inside the park,” said Dr. Augustine.

Meanwhile, after the calving season of Nilgiri tahrs, ENP opened for the public on Saturday.

Mr. Neriamparmpil said that a selfie point is among new facilities established for tourists in the park. “Three buggy cars have been arranged for the visitors to explore the park, and two more will be purchased soon. The park had 1,607 tourists on Saturday and 1,684 on Sunday,” said the official.

According to officials, a survey of new births in ENP will be held on April 20. The last annual census recorded 785 tahrs, while 125 new calves were sighted. “We expect to find around 150 new calves this time,” said Mr. Neriamparampil.

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