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Pakkamalai- Gangavaram hills region

  • Published
    12th May, 2022
Context

Conservationists have sought better protection for the Pakkamalai and Gangavaram hills, and demand to declare the area encompassing over 7,000 hectares into a wildlife sanctuary.

About

Pakkamalai and Gangavaram hills

  • Pakkamalai and Gangavaram hills is a biodiversity-rich area near Gingee in Villupuram district, Tamil Nadu.
  • It is an ecologically important area in the eastern ghats.
  • The demand for notifying Gingee hills a wildlife sanctuary was first mooted in 2019.
  • The area was first notified as a Reserve Forest in 1897 and since then it has given protection to the flora and fauna found here.

Flora and Fauna of the region:

  • The forests in Pakkamalai were unique with rocky terrain and houses several rare varieties of flora from tropical dry evergreen forests and dry deciduous forests.
  • Pakkamalai and Gangavaram have a rich wealth of biodiversity and are a geographically important area in the Eastern Ghats.
  • The forests have a good population of grizzled giant squirrel, grey langur, Pangolin, and the critically endangered golden gecko listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • The grizzled giant squirrel was first discovered from Pakkamalai in 2019.
  • There have also been recorded findings of Bamboo pit viper and Gunthers toad, one of the most poorly known endemic toad.
  • There are rare sightings of large carnivores like leopards and sloth bears and different species of cave bats.
  • About 21 endemic plant species like the Adhatodasengiana and Drypetes porteri have also been recorded in the hills.

Benefit of declaring it a wildlife sanctuary:

  • Declarating it as a wildlife sanctuary will certainly help protect the endangered flora and fauna in the long run apart from initiating conservation activities.
  • The declaration of the hills as a wildlife sanctuary would ensure the protection of both native and endemic species besides maintaining a healthy biodiversity reserve.
  • It would also ensure the protection of the living gene bank of endemic and endangered taxa.
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