Monday, August 3, 2009

Rapid Survey at Sanamavu RF on July 25/26 2009

A field survey of mammals, reptiles and birds in the Sanamavu Reserved Forest was carried out on July 25, 26, 2009, by a joint team of ANCF and KANS supported by a group of volunteer naturalists. This was the first field survey under the year long Hosur–Dharmapuri Biodiversity Survey (HDBS) Project. The survey covered a relatively isolated forest patch of Hosur Forest Division located on the north-eastern side, on either side of the National Highway 7.

On the first day [25th July 2009], the participants were given a brief presentation on the survey plan and methods by Dr. N. Baskaran & Dr Geetha Nayak from ANCF. At the end of the briefing, each team was provided with survey data sheets along with a document on the known mammals of the region to record the direct sightings. Instructions were given to photograph reptiles. Additionally, a copy of ‘The book of Indian Mammals (S.H.Prater) or Field Guide to Mammal (Vivek Menon) and The Book of Indian Reptiles (J.C. Daniel) were provided to each survey team. Each team carried at least one digital camera to photograph direct wildlife sightings besides indirect evidences of target animals whenever possible.

The survey planned to record the mammal and reptile species by (1) direct sighting, (2) indirect evidences such as the droppings, pug/hoof/pad marks and feeding signs and (3) interviews with local inhabitants using photographs to gather information on the presence of mammals and reptilian species in the region both at present and in the past.

Participants were divided into three teams with each team having 4–5 people. The area to be surveyed [Sanmavu RF forest patch on northern side of NH 7] was divided into three survey units, viz. (1) eastern, (2) central and (3) western units. Each survey team was to cover one survey unit traversing from the NH 7 (south) to the northern end of the RF patch and then back to NH 7 (south). On the second day [26th July 2009] the southern side of NH 7 in the Sanamavu Reserved Forest was surveyed with one team surveying the forest along the NH, the second team traversing from Sanamavu village to the northern part ending at the NH 7, and the third team moving from Sanamavu village toward the southern part.

Direct Sightings: The teams recorded only three species of mammals, namely Grey Mongoose (Herpestes edwardsii), three-striped palm squirrel (Funambulus palmarum) and black-naped hare or Indian Hare (Lepus nigricollis). Among reptiles, two species were recorded and these include Snake Skink and Rock Agama (Agama agama). The reptiles were also photographed and their identification will be confirmed by an ANCF herpetofauna specialist. A list of birds sighted during the survey was also compiled from the data sheets of each team.

Indirect evidences: Indirect evidences such as feeding signs of wild boar and scats of small carnivores (mongoose? and jackal?) were noted. Recording the presence of mammals from the indirect evidence was not a very productive exercise, since the teams did not have sufficient background materials such as photos/features for identification. Most of the volunteers still had to gain experience in identifying the indirect evidences of various species.

In this particular survey programme the forest department personnel were not able to participate owing to a sudden deployment of staff to tackle a problem elephant herd in the Oothangarai region.

The boarding arrangement for the entire programme was sponsored by KANS and lodging was provided by the Forest Department. Accommodations for the last programme was arranged at the Forest Research Centre located at NH 7, which is an unused bio-fuel extraction demo plant unit that does not have basic sanitary facilities.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Abagale said...

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August 31, 2009 at 5:06 AM  

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