Date(s) - 21/10/2022
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
AN OVERVIEW OF FAUNAL DIVERSITY IN IIAS CAMPUS, SHIMLA, H.P., INDIA
Dr. Manorama Patri
Cuttack, Odisha, India
Biodiversity reflects the number, variety and variability of living organisms of a region. It is often used as a measure of the health of biological systems. Rapid environmental changes often cause the extinction of most the rare species on earth. Located at an altitude of 2151 meters and spread over 331 acres, including Prospect Hill and Other pockets of Shimla. The Indian Institute of Advanced Study at Shimlafeatures one of the most beautiful landscape gardens in India. It sustains a most charming world of flora and fauna. As one walks through the estate it comes across a wide range of naturally grown rare trees such as emerald Conifers, Oaks, Pines, Deodar, Brown Oak, Chinar and Maple. This rich habitat features diverse insects including Butterfly, Moth and Honeybees. It also provides a welcome home to birds such as Himalayan bulbul, Tit, Barred Owlet, Plum headed parakeet, Himalayan Fly catchers, long tailed minivets and Ashy throated warbler. Languor, Macca mulata (Bandar), Mongoose and Flying squirrel also roam around the pathways. To the best of our knowledge, there has been no academic survey and study of this enchanting sanctuary since the Institute came into existence. The present project intends to address a preliminary checklist.
The study conducted field survey of the estate. The survey had a geo-spatial aspect. The estate was divided into three sites. The first two
sites consisted of the Front Garden and the Backyard Lawns of the Rashtrapati Niwas. The third site consisted of the natural Glen Forest. Regular human labour and care is invested in the maintenance of the first and second sites. The last site housed rich biodiversity. A geospatial division of this kind afforded an opportunity to survey and compare the man-made landscape with the natural habitat. The survey also had a temporal aspect to the project. Spread over a short period of three months, it was conducted in the seasons of late monsoon and early autumn. To be more specific, careful observation of the environment was carried out in the early morning (6:00AM-8:00 AM) and late afternoon hours (5:00-6:00 PM). This temporal aspect also had an impact on the survey. Finally, the survey had a human and technological aspect and it was carried out by a single scholar who has her own subjective interests and expertise. The scholar’s observation of the habitat was also mediated through technology using a camera and (iPad) offering opportunities for both close as well as and long-range observations. These primary data also supported by secondary information collected through various published articles in reputed journals, newspapers, reports and books. The diverse Landscape of the study area showed a rich faunal assemblage with the faunal diversity of insects like honey bees, grasshoppers and beetles etc. The seasonal status of species exhibits relative abundance of insect species in monsoon (July-Sept) than Autumn (Sept-Oct).The findings also showed insect population were higher in Rose Garden in comparison to the Backyard Lawn. The rich butterfly fauna consisting of 35 species (5 families) with other different orders of class insects were photographed and also recorded.
More than 23 species (21 different families) of birds have been spotted during autumn including the rare birds like Himalayan Bulbul, sunbirds, barbets, flycatchers, bats, owlets and owls. The extremely dense Glen Forest also housed number of wild animals, including brown flying squirrel, common jungle cat, jackal, flying fox, Himalayan pit viper and rat snakes. The biodiversity of IIAS campus was explored and it was found that the structural richness within the pillars or willow blocks of the building and the peripheral areas enhanced the faunal diversity most significantly. As a result, some animal species of conservational value can find a suitable habitat inside the campus. Further research is required, especially regarding species-rich invertebrate groups.
Key words: Biodiversity; Animals; Species Diversity; Habitat; Environmental Factors