Posts filed under ‘Karlapat, Kalahandi’
Expressbuzz, Dec 21, 2009
BHUBANESWAR: After reporting several species of plants for the first time in the State from Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary, ecologists have found out oriental small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus) from the protected forests in Kalahandi district.
A key species in wetland environment, otters are recognised as one of the top predators of freshwater ecosystem and there are 13 species distributed worldwide. In India Aonyx cinereus is seen from Himachal Pradesh to Assam hill ranges and in some parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala down south.
In order to formulate a conservation strategy for the species a survey was undertaken recently by Vasundhara to find out the current status, distribution and the role of local communities in their protection and conservation of otters.
According to researcher Himanshu Sekhar Palei, the species has been reported for the first time in Orissa and from Karlapat in particular.
During the study animal signs in the form of spraints were found deposited along river banks, the majority being spotted in Karlapat stream as the water depth was maximum and flow rate was minimum. Except Kiapadar and Sagada stream all other rivers showed positive signs ranging from 50 to 100 per cent, he added.
Though otters are susceptible to habitat degradation, change in water quality, forest fire, haunting and fishing they can still be protected through community conservation initiatives and it is evident from the study that local communities are really helping in protecting and conserving otters in Karlapat.
The survey has found a healthy population of small-clawed otters in 16 streams of the sanctuary. Earlier, the animals were poached for their skin and fur. However, some local communities have started worshipping them as protectors of aquatic ecosystem. On the other hand, since these animals are not competing with locals for fish, the research team believes that the otters can co-exist with the human beings in the same ecosystem.
Another interesting part of the study, according to Palei is, otters also prefer crabs and the tribes of Betkot believe that if anyone eats otter, his/her body will not be decomposed even after death.
Good news for plant lovers and conservationists. Researchers have found four species of flowering plants for the first time in the State from Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary of Kalahandi district.
Apart from these angiosperms, the team involved in a bio-diversity documentation project has also found out nine species of bryophytes and one edible mushroom.
Karlapat is one of the important bio-diversity-rich protected areas in the Eastern Ghats which influences the climate of the drought-prone Kalahandi district. During the period from November 2007 to December 2008, inventory, mapping and documentation of biodiversity of the wildlife sanctuary was undertaken.
While the four species of angiospermic plants include Corallodiscus lanuginose, Limnanthimum parviflora, Salvinia elegans and Pancriatum parvum, the edible mushroom is called Dictyophora indusiata. Earlier, the mushroom was only reported from the Himalayan ecological region.
According to plant ecologist Prasad Kumar Dash, all these flowering plant species and bryophytes were reported for the first time from Karlapat and regarded as a new distributional record for the Eastern Ghats flora. They were earlier reported from Western Ghats i.e. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. Similarly 12 plant species found to be used by the local communities to cure different diseases and ailments within the sanctuary was another important aspect of the study.
The bryophyte species include Plagiochasma appendiculatum, Heteroschyphus argutus, Marchantia palmata, Dumortiera hirsuta, Bryum argentium, Funaria hygrometrica, Asterella angusta, Riccardia levierii and Herpetoneuron toccoi, Dash said.
Currently, the team of researchers comprising plant and wildlife experts are making a survey to go for an inventory and later they would take up a detailed ecological analysis including ethno-anthropogenic studies of the entire area, he added.