Shendurney’s faunal diversity on the rise

Nearly 450 species of birds, odonates, butterflies, arachnids and mammals were documented during the annual faunal survey held recently

February 04, 2023 07:47 pm | Updated 07:47 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Nearly 450 species of birds, odonates, butterflies, arachnids and mammals were documented during the annual faunal survey held recently in Shendurney wildlife sanctuary.

Many species were recorded for the first time in the protected area to enhance its faunal diversity.

The 12th annual assessment that was jointly conducted by the Forest department, Travancore Nature History Society, and other non-governmental organisations, surveyed the sanctuary spread across 171 sqkm. and covered all elevations ranging from 100m to 1550m. J.R. Ani, wildlife warden of Shendurney wildlife sanctuary, inaugurated the exercise.

As many as 165 butterfly species including Western Ghat endemics like the Malabar Raven, Malabar banded swallowtail, Red-disc Bushbrown, Sahyadri Grass Yellow, Golden Tree-flitter, and Travancore evening Brown, were documented. Rare species such as Small palm bob, Purple spotted flitter, Ramaswami’s Six Lineblue, and Shiva Sunbeam, were also spotted. The latest count of butterfly species in the sanctuary now stands at 266.

The survey also recorded 155 species of birds. These included the Great Indian Hornbill, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Wayanad Laughing Thrush, River Tern, Small Pratincole, Brown Headed Barbet, Great Eared Nightjar, Ashambu Laughing thrush, Bourdillon’s Blackbird, Ashambu Sholakili, and Square Tailed Bulbul. The nesting of Legge’s Hawk Eagle and the Lesser Fishing Eagle was recorded. With this survey, the number of bird species in the sanctuary rose to 281.

Thirty-one species of odonates including Lestes concinus, Rhyothemis triangularis, Aciagrion approximans krishna and Orthetrum triangulare were sighted by the participants of the survey as the total number of dragonfly and damselfly species have increased to 115.

Reptiles such as Travancore Pit viper, Hump-nosed pit viper, Travancore tortoise, and bush-frogs like Raorchestes chalazodes and Raorchestes beddomii were also recorded. In addition, the participants also recorded 25 species of spiders, 35 species of ants, five species of cicadas and mammals like tigers, gaurs, elephants, sambar deers, and sloth bears.

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