About Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary
- Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary spreads over 636 square kilometers in Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu.
- It borders the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala, thus provides an important buffer zone for tiger population, in addition to being an important elephant corridor.
- The sanctuary has 10% of the overall population of lion-tailed macaque and Nilgiri Tahr (Tamil Nadu’s state animal).
- This is also one of the few places where the Great Indian Hornbill lives in ground level forest area.
- Apart from large mammals, Meghamalai has a range of snakes, butterflies and ants etc.
- The upper reaches of the Vagai river’s catchment area is part of the wildlife sanctuary.
Note: The source of Vaigai river is in the Varushanad Hills in Tamil Nadu.
- The local population of wood snakes was last spotted and recorded in 1878 by a British naturalist, who went on to describe it as a new species, Xylophis indicus .
- This species of wood snake is a ‘point endemic’e. found only in Megha-malai.
- The rediscovery of the snake in the same region indicates the good quality of the habitat.
- However, the rediscovery of Xylophis indicus needs to be validated by both morphological and genetic data.
- While the morphological aspect has been done, the genetic data is pending.
- Threats to the species:
- Habitat loss and destruction
- Pesticide use/contamination (to those wood snakes living in plantation margins)
- The documentation of the existence of this species will aid in both the management and conservation of biodiversity in this region.
Section : Environment & Ecology