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| Last Updated:: 21/11/2017

Biodiversity


BIO-DIVERSITY AND WILD LIFE IN TAMIL NADU
 
Tamil Nadu is endowed with a rich treasure trove of biodiversity in its forest mainly found in Western and Eastern Ghats. The conservation of biodiversity is of paramount importance to the forest management of the State. Therefore, TamilNadu Forest Department has formulated a project primarily focusing its attention on conservation of vital biodiversity both inside the Protected Area as well as in other Reserved Forests. In order to support the main goal of biodiversity conservation, the project also envisages large scale tree cultivation in private lands in order to increase the natural resource base outside the forest area. Training, Education, Research and Extension activities have also been designed to develop the institutional capacity development which will enhance the quality of biodiversity conservation efforts and ecosystem management.
 
 
The major protected areas include 3 Biosphere reserves, 5 National parks, 8 Wildlife sanctuaries, 4 elephant reserves, 4 Tiger Reserves and 13 Bird sanctuaries. These protected areas of the state contain viable populations of threatened wildlife, keystone species and endemic species and cover significant eco-system types, habitats, landscapes and wildlife corridors. These protected areas of the state are mainly managed for conservation of biodiversity, education, recreation, and preservation of historic sites, unique landscapes and seascapes.
 
 
 FLORA OF TAMILNADU
The Indian region with a total area of about 328 million ha is very rich in biological diversity. It is estimated that about 45,000 species of plants occur in the country. The vascular flora, which forms the conspicuous vegetation cover itself comprises 15,000 species, of which more than 60% are endemic and have so far not been reported from anywhere else in the world. The total plant wealth of the country includes not only the usually large, showy-flowered vascular plants, but a large number of non-flowering plants, viz. ferns, liverworts, algae and fungi. The wild relatives of crop plants along with related species as well as the species of economic plants (estimated to be over 150) are in themselves very valuable gene pool. Inventorization of floral and faunal distribution continued under the aegis of the national institutes of Botanical Survey of India and the Zoological Survey of India across the country and with every subsequent survey, new and unknown species of plants and animals came to be identified and added to the list.
 
Tamil Nadu's diversity was also surveyed during the course of investigations by researchers from other scientific institutions. Gamble (1935) enumerated 4,516 species in the then Madras Presidency, while after the State's reorganization 2,260 species belonging to 983 genera and 173 families have been described in Tamil Nadu and Carnatic region (Mathew et al. 1981). Besides, they have also reported 111 species of Pteridophytes from 59 genera and 11 species of gymnosperms from 9 genera and 5 families. Subbarayalu and Velmurugan (1999) have described 202 species under different IUCN categories of threat. Of this 45 species are endangered, 53 possibly extinct, 29 vulnerable and 75 rare.
 
The Angiosperm diversity of India includes 17,672 species. With 5,640 species of flowering plants, Tamil Nadu ranks first among the States in the country in angiosperm diversity. It accounts for nearly one-third of the total flora of India. This includes 533 endemic species, 230 red-listed species, 1,559 species of medicinal plants and 260 species of wild relatives of cultivated plants. The gymnosperm diversity of the country is 64 species, of which four species are indigenous Gymnosperms and the rest are introduced species. The pteridophyte diversity of India includes 1,022 species of which Tamil Nadu has about 184 species. Tamil Nadu's wild plant diversity also includes vast number of bryophytes, lichens, fungi, algae and bacteria. The analysis provided the total number of plants in Polypetalae, Gamopetalae and Monochlamydae to be 1,944, 1,720 and 642, respectively. Distribution of plants in different plant taxa shows there are a total of 4,306 dicots and 1,241 monocots.
 

FAUNA: WILDLIFE OF TAMIL NADU

India is represented by a wide array of faunal species. More than 50,000 species of insects, 4,000 of molluscs, 6,500 of other invertebrates, 2,000 of fishes, 140 of amphibians, 420 of reptiles, 1,200 of birds and 340 of mammals, totalling more than 65,000 species of animals are recorded from the country. Tamil Nadu's faunal biodiversity is equally impressive. Dr. K. Venkataraman of Zoological Survey of India, Chennai has published about 595 species of freshwater faunal, 2,247 species of marine faunal and 1,898 species of terrestrial faunal species in Tamil Nadu.
 
The faunal diversity of the State includes 165 species of fresh water fishes, 76 species of amphibians, 177 species of reptiles, 454 species of birds and 187 species of mammals. According to the CAMP reports the red-listed species include 126 species of fishes, 56 species of amphibians, 77 species of reptiles, 32 species of birds and 40 species of mammals. The endemic fauna includes 36 species of amphibians, 63 species of reptiles, 17 species of birds and 24 species of mammals. Many faunal species have been included in the various schedules of the Wild Life Protection Act 1972, considering their endangered status. Schedule I animals include 22 species of mammals, 42 species of birds and 9 species of reptiles. Schedule II includes 13 species of mammals. Schedule III includes 5 species of mammals and Schedule IV includes 5 species of mammals, 367 species of birds, 109 species of reptiles and 23 species of amphibians. Schedule V incorporates 13 species of mammals and 1 species of birds.
 
BIOSPHERE RESERVES OF TAMIL NADU
 
Three Biosphere Reserves in Tamil Nadu are among four in India and ninety five in Asia that are part of UNESCO's Programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB).
The 3 Biosphere Reserves in Tamil Nadu listed by size are:
  1. The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve is 10,500 km2 (4,100 sq mi). located in the Indian part of the Gulf of Mannar between the Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka Coasts. Est. 1989.
  2. Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is located in the Western Ghats and Nilgiri Hills. The reserve encompasses 5,520 km2 (2,130 sq mi). in the states of Tamil Nadu (2537.6 km²), Karnataka (1527.4 km²) and Kerala (1455.4 km²).
  3. Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve (ABR) was established in 2001 and now includes 3,500.36 km2 (1,351.50 sq mi). ABR is awaiting approval as participant in the UNESCO-Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme.
 
NATIONAL PARKS OF TAMIL NADU
Tamil Nadu has 5 declared National Parks with a total area over 307.84 km2 (118.86 sq mi), covering only 0.24% of the state. This is the third lowest % area covered of all Indian states and Union territories.
  1. Indira Gandhi National Park (previously: Aanamalai National Park), 117.10 km2 (45.21 sq mi), Est. 1989.
  2. Mudumalai National Park 103.24 km2 (39.86 sq mi), Est. 1990
  3. Mukurthi National Park 78.46 km2 (30.29 sq mi), Est. 1982
  4. Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park 6.23 km2 (2.41 sq mi), Est. 1980
  5. Guindy National Park 2.82 km2 (1.09 sq mi), Est. 1976[9]
WILDLIFE SANCTUARIESIN TAMIL NADU
There are 15 wildlife sanctuaries plus 15 bird sanctuaries that together cover over 2,997.60 km2 (1,157.38 sq mi), 2.30% of the total state area.

 

  1. Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary, a 485 km2 (187 sq mi) Giant Squirrel Sanctuary near Srivilliputhur, in Virudhunagar district consisting of mainly dry deciduous forests with patches of tropical evergreen forests, semi-evergreen forests, moist mixed deciduous forests and grassland. Grizzled giant squirrel, flying squirrel, tree shrew, elephant, lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri tahr, mouse deer, barking deer and many species of birds may be seen.
  2. Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary is contiguous with Indira Gandhi National Park in Coimbatore District. The 841.49 km2 (324.90 sq mi) forest varies from dry deciduous to semi-evergreen, evergreen and montane wet temperate containing teak, rose wood and other tropical species. Animals, including Indian elephant, gaur, tiger, panther, sloth bear, wild boar, dhole, Nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaque, sambar, four horned antelope, chital and a host of birds, notably the trogar, pied hornbill and several types of eagles may be seen.
  3. Kalakkad Wildlife Sanctuary in Tirunelveli District is part of the Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve. This 223.58 km2 (86.32 sq mi) forest consists of mostly tropical wet evergreen forests which change to tropical dry deciduous forests in the foothills and to thorn forests further down. This sanctuary is famous for lion-tailed macaque. All four species (common langur, Nilgiri langur, bonnet macaque and lion tailed macaque) can be seen. Other animals include Nilgiri tahr, sambar, sloth bear, gaur, Indian elephant, tiger, flying squirrel, panther, dhole, pangolin and a variety of birds and reptiles.
  4. Mundanthurai Sanctuary 282.08 km2 (108.91 sq mi) in Tirunelveli District, is part of Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.
  5. Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary is a 457.78 km2 (176.75 sq mi) tiger habitat in Kanyakumari district declared a sanctuary in February 2008.
  6. Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Nilgiris district is contiguous with Mudumalai National Park. It consists of 217.76 km2 (84.08 sq mi) primarily moist deciduous forest which becomes dry deciduous towards Bandipur including mainly mixed forests with bamboos. Animals including elephant, gaur, sambar, chital, dhole panther, tiger, sloth bear, python, barking deer, four-horned antelope, common langur, otter, crocodiles (mugger) and a variety of birds and reptiles may be seen.
  7. Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary in Erode district, 1,411.6 km2 (545.0 sq mi), the largest wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, was declared a sanctuary in 2008. The sanctuary was later declared as a Tiger Reserve due to large number of tigers sighted during the 2010 wildlife survey.
  8. Vallanadu Wildlife Sanctuary, a 16.41 km2 (6.34 sq m) black buck antelope sanctuary in Thoothukudi District, is a scrub forest where black buck, spotted deer, macaques, jungle cat, mongoose, and hares may be seen.
  9. Point calimere wildlife Sanctuary in Nagapattinam district,   1726.00 ha was declared 1967. Animals including Black Buck, Bonnet Macaque, Wild Boar, Flamingoes, and a variety of birds and reptiles may be seen.
  10. Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Theni & Madurai districs 26910.82ha.   it was declared on 2009 and its including the following animals have been seen like Elephant, birds etc.
  11. Point calimere wildlife Sanctuary Block A & Block B in Thanjavur &Tiruvarur districts,   12407.27 ha was declared 2013. Animals including Black Buck, Bonnet Macaque, Wild Boar, Flamingoes, and a variety of birds and reptiles may be seen.
  12.  Kodaikanal Wildlife Sanctuary Dindigul & Theni 60895.482013 Nilgiri Langur, Common Langur, Bonnet Macaque, Indian Giant Squirrel, Common Giant Flying Squirrel, Tiger, Leopard/Panther Birds, Reptiles, Elephant
  13. Gangaikondan spotted Deer Sanctuary 2.88 sq.km in Tirunelveli distict  Deer
  14. Cauvery North Wildlife sanctuary 504.34 sq.km in Districts of Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri
  15. Nellai Wild life sanctuary-356.73 sq.km 2015 in Tirunelveli district 

 

 

WILDLIFE SANCTUARIES IN TAMIL NADU

 

There are 15 wildlife sanctuaries plus 15 bird sanctuaries that together cover over 2,997.60 km2 (1,157.38 sq mi), 2.30% of the total state area.

  1. Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary, a 485 km2 (187 sq mi) Giant Squirrel Sanctuary near Srivilliputhur, in Virudhunagar district consisting of mainly dry deciduous forests with patches of tropical evergreen forests, semi-evergreen forests, moist mixed deciduous forests and grassland. Grizzled giant squirrel, flying squirrel, tree shrew, elephant, lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri tahr, mouse deer, barking deer and many species of birds may be seen.
  2. Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary is contiguous with Indira Gandhi National Park in Coimbatore District. The 841.49 km2 (324.90 sq mi) forest varies from dry deciduous to semi-evergreen, evergreen and montane wet temperate containing teak, rose wood and other tropical species. Animals, including Indian elephant, gaur, tiger, panther, sloth bear, wild boar, dhole, Nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaque, sambar, four horned antelope, chital and a host of birds, notably the trogar, pied hornbill and several types of eagles are present here.
  3. Kalakkad Wildlife Sanctuary in Tirunelveli District is part of the Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve. This 223.58 km2 (86.32 sq mi) forest consists of mostly tropical wet evergreen forests which change to tropical dry deciduous forests in the foothills and to thorn forests further down. This sanctuary is famous for lion-tailed macaque. All four species (common langur, Nilgiri langur, bonnet macaque and lion tailed macaque) are found here. Other animals include Nilgiri tahr, sambar, sloth bear, gaur, Indian elephant, tiger, flying squirrel, panther, dhole, pangolin and a variety of birds and reptiles.
  4. Mundanthurai Sanctuary 282.08 km2 (108.91 sq mi) in Tirunelveli District, is part of Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.
  5. Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary is a 457.78 km2 (176.75 sq mi) tiger habitat in Kanyakumari district declared a sanctuary in February 2008.
  6. Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Nilgiris district is contiguous with Mudumalai National Park. It consists of 217.76 km2 (84.08 sq mi) primarily moist deciduous forest which becomes dry deciduous towards Bandipur including mainly mixed forests with bamboos. Animals including elephant, gaur, sambar, chital, dhole panther, tiger, sloth bear, python, barking deer, four-horned antelope, common langur, otter, crocodiles (mugger) and a variety of birds and reptiles are there.
  7. Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary in Erode district, 1,411.6 km2 (545.0 sq mi), the largest wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, was declared a sanctuary in 2008. The sanctuary was later declared as a Tiger Reserve due to large number of tigers sighted during the 2010 wildlife survey.
  8. Vallanadu Wildlife Sanctuary, a 16.41 km2 (6.34 sq mi) black buck antelope sanctuary in Thoothukudi District, is a scrub forest where black buck, spotted deer, macaques, jungle cat, mongoose, and hares are there.
  9. Point calimere wildlife Sanctuary in Nagapattinam district,   1726.00 ha was declared 1967. Animals including Black Buck, Bonnet Macaque, Wild Boar, Flamingoes, and a variety of birds and reptiles may be seen.
  10. Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Theni & Madurai districs 26910.82ha.   it was declared on 2009 and its including the following animals are Elephant, birds etc.
  11. Point calimere wildlife Sanctuary Block A & Block B in Thanjavur &Tiruvarur districts,  12407.27 ha was declared 2013. Animals including Black Buck, Bonnet Macaque, Wild Boar, Flamingoes, and a variety of birds and reptiles are there.
  12.  Kodaikanal Wildlife Sanctuary Dindigul & Theni 60895.482013 Nilgiri Langur, Common Langur, Bonnet Macaque, Indian Giant Squirrel, Common Giant Flying Squirrel, Tiger, Leopard/Panther Birds, Reptiles, Elephant

 

ELEPHANT RESERVES IN TAMIL NADU

 

Tamil Nadu is a major participant in Project Elephant. It has 5 elephant sanctuaries covering 7,940 km2.

  1. Nilgiri Elephant Reserve, 4,663 km2 (1,800 sq mi), protected area 716 km2 (276 sq mi), elephant population 1938, contiguous with Wayanad Reserve in Kerala, Mysore reserve in Karnataka and Rayala reserve in Andhra Pradesh, established 2003.
  2. Coimbatore Elephant Reserve, 566 km2 (219 sq mi), protected area 482 km2 (186 sq mi), elephant population 132, contiguous with Nilambur Reserve in Kerala, established 2003.
  3. Anamalai Elephant Reserve 1,457 km2 (563 sq mi), protected area 300 km2 (120 sq mi), elephant population 680, contiguous with Anamalai Reserve in Kerala, established 2003.
  4. Srivilliputtur Elephant Reserve, 1,249 km2 (482 sq mi), protected area 568 km2 (219 sq mi), elephant population 223, contiguous with Periyar Reserve in Kerala, established 2002.

 

TIGER RESERVES IN TAMIL NADU

 

Tamil Nadu has 4 tiger reserves which are declared as part of Project Tiger:

  1. Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve - Established in 1962, this 900 km2 (350 sq mi) reserve in Tirunelveli district is now part of the Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve. It was adopted by Project Tiger in 1988. The Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) has developed and implemented a conservation intervention program here. A comprehensive report on the history, flora & fauna, ecology and future of the reserve is available. This reserve has an estimated tiger population of 6-8 tigers.
  2. Mudumalai National Park was declared to be a tiger reserve in April, 2007, under section 38V of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, in an effort to conserve the country's dwindling tiger populations. Tigers occupy 5,326 square kilometres (2,056 sq mi) of this reserve with an estimated tiger population of 62 (44 to 80) tigers.
  3. Anaimalai-Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, including Indira Gandhi National Park in Tamil Nadu, was declared as a Tiger Reserve in 2008.[25] This reserve has tiger occupancy in 2,744 km2 (1,059 sq mi) within a contiguous forest patch of 4,400 km2 (1,700 sq mi). Within Tamil Nadu, tigers occupied 1,691 km2 (653 sq mi).
  4. Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, in Erode district with 1,411.6 km2 (545.0 sq mi), is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu encompassing areas of Gobichettipalayam and Sathyamangalam talukas  It was declared as a tiger reserve in 2011 and had a population of 46 tigers in the 2010 wildlife survey during month of March 2013.

 

BIRD SANCTUARIES IN TAMIL NADU

 

There are 15 established bird sanctuaries at the southernmost continental range of the Central Asian Flyway in Tamil Nadu.

  1. Chitrangudi Bird Sanctuary - This .48 km2 (0.19 sq mi) sanctuary in Ramanathapuram District is home to spot-billed pelicans, cormorants, egrets, grey heron, spoon-billed stork.
  2. Kanjirankulam Bird Sanctuary - This 1.04 km2 (0.40 sq mi) sanctuary in Ramanathapuram District is home to cormorants, egrets, grey heron, spoon-billed storks, teals and pelicans.
  3. Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary - This 4.54 km2 (1.75 sq mi) sanctuary in Perambalur District is home to egrets, pelican, grey heron, black-headed ibis and common spoonbills.
  4. Karikili Bird Sanctuary - This .612 km2 (0.236 sq mi) sanctuary in Kancheepuram District is home to cormorants, egrets, grey heron, spoon-billed stork.
  5. Koothankulam Bird Sanctuary - This 1.2933 km2 (0.4993 sq mi) in Nanguneri Taluk of Tirunelveli district is the largest reserve for breeding water birds in South India and attracts more than 100,000 birds annually.
  6. Melaselvanur - Kilaselvanur Bird Sanctuary - This 5.93 km2 (2.29 sq mi) sanctuary in Ramanathapuram District is home to grey pelican and painted stork.
  7. Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary - is a 17.26 km2 (6.66 sq mi) bird sanctuary In Point Calimere, Nagapattinam district. It consists of tidal swamps, dry evergreen forests and mangroves. The sanctuary is famous for its flamingos and black buck antelope. A large variety of water birds including teals, gulls, terns, plovers and stilts can be seen during winter months. Mammals include chital, wild boar. The water birds of the great swamp and the dolphins and turtles that often come close to the shore are important attractions.
  8. Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary - This 461.02 km2 (178.00 sq mi) sanctuary in Pulicat, Thiruvallur District is the second largest brackish-water eco-system on the East Coast of India. Many greater flamingos are there.
  9. Udayamarthandapuram Bird Sanctuary - is .45 km2 (0.17 sq mi) in Tiruvarur District. It is home to little cormorant, darter, spoon bill, Indian reef heron, grey heron, white necked stork

10.  Vaduvoor Bird Sanctuary - This 1.28 km2 (0.49 sq mi) sanctuary is 14 km from Mannargudi towards Thanjavur in Thiruvarur district. It consists of a fresh water lake with a few trees, mainly babul. There are 40 different species of birds including: river tern, black-headed munia, grey heron, white-breasted kingfisher spotted dove and more. Annual rainfall is about 1400 mm.

11.  Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary - This .3 km2 (0.12 sq mi) sanctuary in Kancheepuram District is home to cormorants, egrets, gray heron, spoon-bill stork and migratory birds such as garganey, teals, shovellers.

  1. Vellode Birds Sanctuary - This .772 km2 (0.298 sq mi) sanctuary in Erode District is home to spoon bills, teals, pintail ducks, and darters.
  2. Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary - This .344 km2 (0.133 sq mi) near Thirupattur in Sivaganga district has attracted more than 8,000 migratory birds belonging to 217 species, mostly from European and North Asian countries. The species included white ibis, Asian open bill stork and night heron. It has also attracted indigenous, endangered species such as painted stork, grey heron, darter, little cormorant, little egret, intermediate egret, cattle egret, common teal, spot bills, pintail and flamingos.
  3. Viralimalai Peacock Sanctuary - This is in the small town of Viralimalai, situated 30 km from Thiruchirapalli and 40 km from Pudukkottai. It is known for its Murugan temple and the adjacent Peacock Sanctuary. The town is bestowed with a large number of wild peacocks, which roam around the Murugan temple. The town, Temple and Peacock Sanctuary have been declared and funded as a Heritage Place by order of the governor.
  4. Kallaperambur lake near Thanjavur has recently been declared as a bird sanctuary by the Forest Department. Improvement works remain to be undertaken in the lake.
  5. Suchindram Theroor Birds Sanctuary is a proposed protected area comprising the Suchindram Kulam wetlands, and the Theroor Kulam both near Suchindram town in Kanyakumari District. It is located between Nagercoil and Kanyakumari on the National Highway No. 47.

 

CONSERVATION RESERVES AND COMMUNITY RESERVES

 

  1. Tiruvidaimarudur Conservation Reserve is in the .0284 km2 (0.0110 sq mi) compound of the Mahalingha Swamy Siva temple in Tiruvidaimarudur village, Thanjavur District. Over 400 little egrets, pond heron and painted stork nest and feed in this area adjacent to the Tamiraparani River, 10 km. from Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.

 

ZOOS:  ARIGNAR ANNA ZOOLOGICAL PARK

 

There are two zoos recognised by the Central Zoo Authority of India in Tamil Nadu.

  1. Arignar Anna Zoological Park is 5.10 km2 (1.97 sq mi) in Chennai.
  2. Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, a reptile zoo and herpetology research station, located 40 km south of Chennai. There are many small zoos across the state run by local administrative bodies such as Coimbatore Zoo in Coimbatore, Amirthi Zoological Park in Vellore, Kurumpampatti Wildlife Park in Salem district, Yercaud Deer Park in Yercaud, Mukkombu Deer Park in Tiruchirapalli district and Ooty Deer Park in Nilgiris district

 

CROCODILE FARMS: MADRAS CROCODILE BANK TRUST

 

There are five Crocodile farms in Tamil Nadu, four under the control of Forest Department.

  1. Amaravati Sagar Crocodile Farm, Coimbatore district
  2. Hogenakkal Crocodile Bank, Dharmapuri district
  3. Kurumbapatti Crocodile farm, Salem district
  4. Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, Chennai
  5. Sathanur Dam Crocodile Bank, Tiruvannamalai district

 

References

 

 

1.      Tamil Nadu Forest Department