Reptiles rediscovered

Published: Monday 15 June 1998

  Reptiles: new species surfac at a time when all that we hear about is extinction of the once-bountiful and varied flora and fauna, here's some good news. Eleven new species of reptiles and six amphibians have been sighted and documented for the first time in India's last home of Asiatic lions, the Gir sanctuary.

The new findings were reported after examining 122 specimens of reptiles and 51 amphibians between February 119 and February 1998. While the Brown Vine snake makes a rare appearance, the coral snake and the black-headed snake was not expected to be seen in the dry, deciduous Gir forests. Another reptile, the Termite Gecko, until now had escaped the researcher's eye.

The project, under the supervision of the Gujarat government, is funded by the World Bank and the Global Environmental Facility and aims to negate the negative impact of human population on forests. Home to 35 species of reptiles and six of amphibians, Gir accounts for 5.7 per cent of the nation's herpetofauna. The fresh water crocodile population adds another feather to Gir's already brimful cap.

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