fauna

Fauna

Recently a book has been published on the Faunal Diversity of Tiger Reserves In India by Zoological Survey of India Kolkata and Project Tiger Directorate New Delhi in the year 2006. The report indicates the conservation philosophy of Project Tiger, which has resulted in the Conservation of other life forms while saving the flagship species the tiger. The main objective of this book is to compile data detailing the distribution of vertebrates (mammalia, aves, replilia, amphibia and pisces) and selected invertebrate species especially butterflies, to assess the major role of these species in community interactions which implies a high correlation between species richness and overall biodiversity.

The second important objective is to gather information on the geographic distribution, from the surveys and museum information available together with literature search. All the 28 tiger reserves in the country including Melghat Tiger Reserve, the fauna were studies and compiled by the scientists of Zoological Survey of India. The area of the Melghat Tiger Reserve was surveyed by Shri. Prakash Kulkarni and Anil Mahabal scientists, Zoological Survey of India, Western Regional Station Pune. This survey was conducted during the years 1991-1996. A total of 13 surveys were conducted by the scientists of WRS Pune during the period. The details of t he Survey conducted are given below .

From previous notings.

Sr.No Name of the Group Orders Families Genera Species/ Sub species New records For Melghat New species/ Subspecies
1 CLADOCERA 1 5 19 29 29 1
2 MOLLUSCA-Fresh Water 1 9 11 23 23 -
3 SCOLOPENDRA ARACHNIDA 1 1 5 15 10 -
4 ARANEAE 1 16 26 14 14 -
5 Scorpoins 1 3 6 8 8 -
6 Soilfugida INSECTA 1 1 1 1 1 -
7 Diptera(Cecidomyiidae) 1 1 8 15 15 -
8 Hemiptera (Aquatic\Semi Aq.) 1 6 14 20 20 -
9 Aphids 1 1 6 8 8 -
10 Odonata 1 6 17 245 24 -
11 Orthoptera 1 7 34 38 38 -
12 Lepidoptera 1 8 36 45 - -
13 PISCES 6 17 50 96 41 -
14 AMPHIBIA 1 4 7 8 8 -
15 REPTILES 4 16 36 54 - -
16 AVES 16 57 167 263 11 -
17 MAMMALS 9 28 53 80 - -

In the class MAMMALIA, 80 species have been recorded belonging to different families, the prominent are Rhesus Macaque, Common Langur, Indian Pangolin, Indian Wolf, Wild Dog, Jackal, Sloth bear, Stripped Hyena, Jungle Cat, Wild Boar, Cheetal, Sambar, Barking deer, Gaur, Blue Bull, Four horned antelope, Chinkara, Rattle. 262 species of Bird, 54 species of amphibian, 96 species of Pisces etc.

Various studies conducted on fauna of MTR:- Melghat Tiger Reserve is richly stocked with varied animal forms and therefore this has been important from the point of view of scientists, foresters as well as local educational institutions for the study of fauna in Melghat Tiger Reserve. The various studies conducted are enumerated below.

  • Checklist of Birds of Melghat in the year 1994.
  • Fauna of Tiger Reserve: An overview, year 1993, by Zoolgical survey of India.
  • Fauna of Melghat Tiger Reserve, Conservation Area series, 24
  • Fishes of Melghat by Gujar R.D. year 1992.
  • Assessment Report: Project Tiger Melghat by C.S.Kirpekar year 1994.
  • Gazetter of India:- Maharashtra State Gazetteers Amravati District by P.Setu Madhavarao year 1968.
  • Mammval species profile of Melghat Tiger Reserve by Pradhan M.S. and Ramkrishna year 2004.
  • Birds Survey of Melghat by V.B.Sawarkar year 1988.
  • An Annotated Bibliography on Tigers By Shri.M.G.Gogate, IFS (Rtd.)1989.
  • Osreology of Tiger by Shri. R.V.Pandit.
  • Revised checklist of Birds A publication of MTR containing 265 species of birds.
Ecological stratification of wild fauna

Wild herbivores in the reserve have been observed to have liking with regard to plant species they prefer as food or even shelter. Heteropogon ritchie, a grass species seems to enjoy positive correlation with distribution of gaurs due to the shelter owing to its height and thick growth that it offers to the shy animals similarly, amongst shrubs Securinego virosa (Pithondi), which provides green forage in pinch period towards the end of summer also seems to have positive association with the distribution of Gaur and Sambar. Helecteres isora (Muradsheng) another well distributed shrub seem to have positive correlation with distribution of Sambar.

Occurrence of certain animals in different altitudinal zones with unequal densities indicates that there exists a gradient of habitat preference. Though most of the wild animals are specialized to exploit different altitudinal zones, some of them exhibit occupational preference in the middle hills. It is observed that Sambar,Gaur, Barking deer, Wild pigs and Chausinga normally confined to middle hills, which offer secluded shelter to these animals. This topographic zone is away from the habitations and is least disturbed. Domestic cattle rarely share the water and forage. This zone is rich in floral diversity, which assumes adequate palatable forage to the wild animals.

The upper hills provide a bleak habitat for the wildlife. High altitude faunal habitats are comprised of grassy balds (Baldas) with sparse tree growth, flanked by steep slopes and as such have limited potential to hold on the wildlife. Also the scanty water supply lessens the congeniality of this type of habitat.

The lower hill zone is under constant pressure for firewood, fodder, grazing etc by the local populace and as such has low habitat preference index. The Gaur, Sam bar and wild pigs are at the minimum diversity whereas this habitat is favoured most by Nilgai and Cheetal. Nilgai ranges in the open glades amidst woodlands. Cheetal avoid hilly terrain and thicker forests and these obscure fleeing at the maximum speed. Therefore in Melghat, Cheetal are found normally in lower hill zone with gentle slopes.

The reserve has variety of herbivores. Teak story with bamboo under story is home of Gaur, Sambar, Barking deer, and four horned antelope, which are distributed through out the reserve. Sambars are found in good numbers. Numbers of cheetals are found around Bori, Chikhali, Kolkaz, Dhakna and Dhargad. Nilgai are found in Bori, Dolar, Dhakna, Rangubeli, Zunjeruaam etc. The Indian Hare frequents neighborhoods of village and cultivation

Tigers and panthers are distributed throughout the Reserve. The promising tiger areas are around Mata Kol, Mandikua, Dolaram, Rabangnala to Keli, Semadoh – Raipur, Kuwapati, Adhao-Dakna, Raksha etc. Panthers are found in fair number specially around Marita, Jarida, Khatkali Rangubeli. Wild dogs occur in fair numbers particularly around Chunkhadi, Raipur, Koha,Koktoo, Gobiya etc. Scavengers like striped Hyena and Jackals are also observed in fair number and range widely.

Sloth Bears are numerous and wide spread. Bairat, Makhala, Hatru, Khamdakheda, Koha, Dhakna, Koktoo are prominent Sloth bear areas.

Official Website of Melghat Tiger Project, Amravati