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16 new frog species spotted in Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, India

Sixteen frog species and three snake species, which have not been spotted in the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary earlier, have been spotted during the first phase of a first of its kind reptile-amphibian survey carried there from August 5 to 8.

The survey in the 90.44 square kilometre sanctuary in Idukki district, under the supervision of Munnar Wildlife Warden Prasad G., was carried out by about 50 volunteers from the nature groups Koodu, Travancore Natural History Society, Malabar Natural History Society, Cochin Adventure Foundation, Wings of Nature, representatives from the Forestry College and the Kerala Forest Research Institute, and 20 officers of the Forest Department.

Sanctuary’s Assistant Wildlife Warden R.O. Prabu told The Hindu that the survey was different from the previous ones since it was carried out during day and night along 11 different habitats of the sanctuary, comprising rain shadow areas, high altitude grasslands, thorny shrubberies, river banks and shola forests.

31 amphibian species, 29 reptile species

Mr. Prabu said that in all 31 species of amphibians and 29 reptile species were spotted during the first phase survey. Among the frog discoveries are the IUCN red listed Griet bush frog, the star eyed tree frog, and the large ghat tree frog. The reptile discoveries during the survey include the Gunther’s vine snake, the Anamalai gecko, the blue tailed skink, Malabar pit viper, and the flying snake.

The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary reportedly has one of the richest biodiversity wealth in the State because of its varying climatic conditions.

Mr. Prabu said that the second phase of the survey would be carried out in a different climate condition.

The survey was led by KFRI research scientists Sandeep Das and Raj Kumar, biologist Harish Sudhakar and forest officers Reji, Subin and Manjesh.

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