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Wednesday, December 26

Quick Facts about Western Ghats Biodiversity



Known as ‘Sahyadri’ in local language, Western Ghats is a 1600 km long, 45-65 million years old mountain range which extends from south of the Tapti River in the border of Gujarat and Maharshtra to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, covering six states ( Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala) in India.

The rich biodiversity of the region has made it an important region which should be conserved.

  •   It is part of the Sri Lanka Hotspot which is among the 34 Global biodiversity hotspots in the world.
  •   It is one among world’s 8 hottest biodiversity hotspots.
  •   South Western Ghats Moist Forests and Western Ghats Rivers are categorized as Critically Endangered by WWF under the 200 priority Eco regions in the world.
  •   World conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) considers it as one of the important area of freshwater biodiversity. 
  •   UNESCO has listed it as a World Heritage Site for its rich biodiversity.
  Tamil Lacewing,Cethosia nietneri, Agasthyarkoodam, Kerala, western ghat butterflies
Tamil Lacewing (Cethosia nietneri )(Agasthyarkoodam, Kerala),
one of the beautiful butterflies in WG.

















Western Ghats biodiversity in numbers*
 
137 species of Mammals, 16 are endemic, including Lion-Tailed Macaque and Nilgir Tahr. 14 are globally threatened.

  •   More than 66 percent of Mammals in Western Ghats belong to Chiroptera ( bats), Insectivora(insect eating organisms) and Rodentia ( order of gnawing organisms like rats and squirrels)
  •   Among the endemic mammals, 62 percent are either bats or insect eating organisms or gnawing animals.
  •  Malabar Civet, Wroughton's free-tailed bat (Otomops wroughtoni) and Salim Ali’s Fruit bat are critically endangered.

508 Bird species, 16 of them are endemic to Western Ghats.

332 species Butterflies, 36 are endemic species.

290 species of fishes, 189 species and 12 genera are endemic. 12 endemic fish species are Critically Endangered
  •  Most diverse are Cyprinidae which includes carps and true minnows.
  •   East Flowing Rivers of Western Ghats show more diversity than the north flowing ones.

 203 species of reptiles among which snakes are a majority, 124 (62 percent) are endemic.

Malabar Green Pit Viper(Trimeresurus malabaricus) is a venomous reptile, endemic to Western Ghats.
181 Amphibians species with 159 are endemic, 16 are Critically Endangered.


 77 species of fresh water Molluscs , 27(36 percent) are endemic.

270 species of land snails, 207 (77 percent) are endemic 

200 globally threatened species, but only 10 percent of Western Ghats area comes under protected category.



Critically Endangered
Endangered
Vulnerable
Endemic
Total
Mammals
3
7
21
16
137
Birds
2
1
12
16
508
Reptiles
0
1
3
124
203
amphibians
16
28
15
159
181
Fishes
12
54
31
189
290

Source: Fauna of Ecosystems of India - Western Ghats, ZSI


*As of September 2012


Citation
Radhakrishnan, c. and Rajmohana, K. 2012, Fauna of Ecosystems of India - Western Ghats: 1-14. ( Published by the Director, ZSI, Kolkata)


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