Article

Endemic mammals of West Bengal

West Bengal 10/2007; 49:53-55.
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    • "Among the vertebrates, only one specimen of mammal species, namely Herpestes palustris, 44 species of water birds, one species of Himalayan Newt Pleurodeles verrucosus and 223 species of fish are known to be endemic to the Indian wetlands (Alfred and Nandi, 2000). In fact, the mammal endemicity is only marginal in West Bengal (Mallick, 2007). "

    Full-text · Chapter · Jan 2013
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012
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    ABSTRACT: Population of the endangered Bengal Marsh mongoose Herpestes palustris Ghose, 1965 (Mammalia: Carnivora: Herpestidae), previously considered a subspecies of H. javanicus, is endemic to the swampy southern West Bengal. It is the latest mongoose species in India, distributed in the peri-urban, non-forest, natural or manmade wetlands in Howrah, South and North 24-Parganas districts, situated on both banks of the river Hooghly. Now, only the undisturbed core area (bheries or fisheries) of East Kolkata Wetlands, a RAMSAR site spread over 125 km2, is the last stronghold of this marsh mongoose in the world. Although this typical wetland mongoose was recognized by the Zoological Survey of India forty five years ago, no field studies were conducted to update information on this rare animal until recently. Consequently, the Bengal marsh mongoose remained a poorly known and data deficient species. Recent researches have developed a knowledge-base on this marsh mongoose. This chapter highlights the past and present distributions, morphological features, ecology, behaviour, food habits, reproduction, conservation threats and status of H. palustris. During the field surveys, being conducted since mid-2005, a sizeable population of this mongoose was found only in the largest bheries of Nalban, but probably dwindled in other habitats due to rapid reclamation of its habitats for two new satellite townships, the Salt Lake City (Bidhannagar) and Rajarhat Megacity in North 24-Parganas district, as well as other anthropogenic threats. Immediate conservation measures are required to be taken by the nodal authorities to prevent habitat encroachment and extinction of H. palustris in near future.
    Full-text · Chapter · Jan 2013

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