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Endemic mammals of West Bengal

West Bengal 10/2007; 49:53-55.
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract: Neora Valley National Park (NVNP) in the Kalimpong Hills, Darjeeling District, having a wide range of altitudinal variations (183–3,200 m) and climatic conditions and forming an ecological trijunction with Sikkim and Bhutan, is the last virgin wilderness in West Bengal. It is a global hotspot for the unique ecosystem, where tropical, sub-tropical, temperate and sub-temperate forests represent a wealth of biodiversity including many threatened and rare mammals. It is the prime habitat of Ailurus fulgens (estimated population 28–32), Neofelis nebulosa (population unassessed), Ursus thibetanus (18), Bos gaurus (81), Hemitragus jemlahicus (32), Naemorhedus goral (73), Capricornis sumatraensis (89), Rusa unicolor (286), Muntiacus vaginalis (590) and Sus scrofa (615). Discovery of Panthera tigris (20) in 1998 prompted the forest department to include NVNP as a sensitive wildlife zone. Many authors recorded the mammalian diversity in Darjeeling District since the mid-nineteenth century, but most of them referred to the Darjeeling Hills. The documentations on Kalimpong Hills are scarce because of the dense canopy, thick undergrowth and inaccessible terrain, particularly in the pristine forests of Neora Valley. Consequently, a comprehensive compendium of the mammals in this region was not prepared. A study was undertaken in 2008–2009 with a view to bridging this knowledge-gap and presenting an updated account of the mammalian species in this new short-listed World Heritage Site and surrounding forests of the Kalimpong Hills based on literature review, questionnaire survey, direct sighting and indirect evidences. During June–October 1916, N.A. Baptista recorded 29 mammalian species (22 genera) out of 563 specimens collected, from the region. The present study registered 99 species (68 genera) after 94 years. Keywords: Indirect evidences, Kalimpong, literature review, mammals, Neora Valley, sighting, status.
    Journal of Threatened Taxa. 10/2012; 4(12):3103-3136.

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May 22, 2014