LIFE

Preserving the High Ranges

The Western Ghats continue to fascinate nature enthusiasts all over the world. It is also a difficult and complex task keeping an eye on the range that has been listed as one of the 24 `global hotspots' of bio-diversity indicating high areas of endemism and significant threat of imminent extinction.

`Nature Conservation in the High Ranges', a booklet released here recently, is an effort by the High Range Wildlife and Environment Preservation Association to draw attention to the difficulties being faced by the eco-system in the High Ranges.

M.K. Prasad, in his foreword to the release, says that `Nature Conservation' is a checklist of the most dominant elements of the bio-diversity of the High Ranges.

The booklet is an indication of the constant vigil the Association keeps on the High Ranges and its efforts to monitor and augment the natural heritage.

The High Ranges can boast of the highest peak south of the Himalayas in Anamudi which stands 8,841 feet above sea level. It has also one of the most beautiful plateaus in the country in the Eravikualm National Park.

The High Ranges are home to the Nilgiri tahrs and Nilakurinji - two of the more famous fauna and flora. Who can forget the elephants?

Spectacular cherry blossom and enchanting species of butterflies as well as the avian fauna like the Nilgiri White Eye and Nilgiri Pipit are the other major inhabitants.

The Nature Conservation Association is engaged in regenerating degraded shoals with native species, assisting the wildlife authorities in managing the Eravikualm National Park and assisting research activities in the area.

Forming nature clubs and organising nature camps, treks and arranging nature awareness workshops are other activities being undertaken by the Association.

By K.A. Martin

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