Researchers Discover 55 Herpeto-fauna Species In Manas National Park
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A team from Manas , consisting of researchers from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Arya Vidyapeeth College, Gauhati University, and biodiversity conservation NGO Aaranyak , conducted a study on the national park last month. The team said that several undocumented, amphibian and reptile species were still thriving in Manas . According to the park officials, the preliminary survey results revealed the presence of at least 55 herpeto-fauna species, comprising 20 amphibian and 35 reptile species.

The green tree frog, bubble nest frog, twin spotted tree frog, blue fan-throated lizard, water monitor lizard, king cobra and pope's pit viper are some of the species present in this park, said officials. Manas National Park also extends to Bhutan. The officials also added that majority of the herpeto-fauna species found in the park are new records for Bhutan.

As per a statement issued by a park official, some of the species discovered are of immense scientific interest. The species in the Indian part of Manas reflects Indian, Indo-Malayan, and Indo-Chinese elements.

"Habitat patches in Lotajhar and Doimari inside Manas National Park were found to be particularly rich in forest species, while grassland-wetland areas such as Kuribeel in the Bansbari Range were identified as the park's critical turtle habitat," the official said.

The survey results would help them push for declaring trans-boundary Manas a World Heritage Site, said Wildlife Institute of India (WII) director V B Mathur. According to WII herpetologist Abhijit Das, the survey indicated the herpeto-fauna biodiversity of the Manas landscape.

The Indian portion of Manas is already a Unesco World Heritage Site and it forms a contiguous biodiversity landscape with Royal Manas National Park (RMNP) in Bhutan. As the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO focuses on trans-boundary conservation, the training of frontline staff in both the Indian and Bhutan sections is extremely important.

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