Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | 26 December 2018 | 10(15): 12979–12985

 

 

On the diversity of the vertebrate fauna (excluding fishes) of Panchet Hill (Garh Panchkot), Purulia, West Bengal, India

 

Sanjib Chattopadhyay 1, Somenath Dey 2 & Utpal Singha Roy 3

 

1 Panchakot Mahavidyalaya, Sarbari, Neturia, Purulia, West Bengal 723121, India

2 P.G. Department of Zoology, Darjeeling Government College, 19, Lebong Cart Road, Darjeeling, West Bengal 734101, India

3 Department of Zoology, Durgapur Government College, J.N. Avenue, Durgapur, Paschim Bardhaman, West Bengal 713214, India

1 csanjibrng@gmail.com, 2somenath.prl@gmail.com, 3srutpal@gmail.com (corresponding author)

 

 

 

doi: https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.4102.10.15.12979-12985  |  ZooBank: urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:57FFC118-0D59-4450-9D4B-052061CAFBC1

 

Editor: L.A.K. Singh, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India.       Date of publication: 26 December 2018 (online & print)

 

Manuscript details: Ms # 4102 | Received 02 March 2018 | Final received 22 November 2018 | Finally accepted 04 December 2018

 

Citation: Chattopadhyay, S,. S. Dey & U.S. Roy (2018). On the diversity of the vertebrate fauna (excluding fishes) of Panchet Hill (Garh Panchkot), Purulia, West Bengal, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 10(15): 12979–12985; https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.4102.10.15.12979-12985

 

Copyright: © Chattopadhyay et al. 2018. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.

 

Funding: University Grants Commission (Minor Research Project, Sanction No. PSW–119/13–14, ERO ID No. SKB–005, Dated: 18 March 2014), New Delhi, India.

 

Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.

 

Acknowledgements: This work was a part of a minor research project and the authors thankfully acknowledge the University Grants Commission, New Delhi, India for providing the necessary funds.  The authors are thankful to the local inhabitants of the village adjacent to Panchet Hill for their immense and unconditional help and cooperation.  The authors thankfully acknowledge the help and cooperation extended by the Director of Public Instruction, Government of West Bengal, Kolkata.  Dr. Somenath Dey is thankful to Dr. P.C. Lama, Officer-in-Charge, Darjeeling Government College, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India while Dr. Utpal Singha Roy is thankful to Dr. P. Pramanik, Principal, Durgapur Government College, West Bengal for their keen interest in the present work.  The authors thankfully acknowledge the help and support provided by the District Forest Officer, Panchet - I Division, Purulia.

 

 

 

Abstract: The present study was conducted at Panchet Hill (Garh Panchkot), Purulia, West Bengal between June 2013 and May 2015.  Multiple methods were used for making a consolidated checklist and comments on the relative abundance of vertebrate diversity, excluding fishes.  The methods included hand capturing, extensive searches in micro habitats, opportunistic spotting and information collection from the local people.  A total of 106 different vertebrate species were recorded during the study span of two years.  Aves was recorded as the Class with the highest diversity (63 species) while Amphibia was recorded as the Class with the lowest diversity (9 species).  Most of the species recorded during the present study belong to ‘Least Concern’ category as designated by IUCN.  The Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus and Striped Hyaena Hyaena hyaena belong to ‘Near Threatened’ category while the White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis belongs to ‘Critically Endangered’ category.  The present study location is facing pressures from the usual anthropogenic interventions and needs attention from the concerned authorities.

 

Keywords: Amphibia, aves, biodiversity, Garh Panchkot, mammalia, Panchet Hill, Purulia, reptilia, vertebrates.

 

 

 

 

Over geological time scale biodiversity has followed the trend towards net increase; however, a marked decline in global biodiversity occurred during the late Quaternary period as a consequence of both direct and indirect human activities (Gaston & Spicer 2004).  Hughes et al. (1997) reported that in tropical forests on an average 1,800 populations are being destroyed per hour while 16 million annually.  An ever-increasing human population with huge demands on the natural resources have imposed a worldwide burden and consequently have depleted  biological diversity. India with a burgeoning human population is no exception in this regard (Marcot & Nyberg 2005).  Despite the tremendous pressure over the natural resources, India which covers about 2.4% of the world’s land area, harbours about 8% of the world’s total species (UNEP 2001).  The rich tradition and culture of India since ancient times have set high values to protect its sacred biota (Bhagwat et al. 2005).  Currently, India has about 21.34% of its geographical area classified as forest which includes 764 protected areas covering about 4.93% of the total land area (WII ENVIS 2017).

As of 2015 West Bengal has 18.96% of the state’s geographical area designated as forest of which 59.4% has been classified as reserve forest (WBFD 2017).  Panchet Hill (Garh Panchkot) in West Bengal is a protected forest located at Raghunathpur sub–division of Purulia District, with the highest elevation of about 650m (Fig. 1).  Few research articles are published from this area  including those of  Raha & Mallick (2016) and recent report on “biodiversity conservation plan of Panchet hill (Garh Panchkot)” by EMTRC (2016).  Over the last few decades, a large number of studies have enlisted the diversity and distribution of vertebrate taxa from different protected areas of the country.  To the best of our knowledge, however, no such studies have ever been done/ reported from Panchet Hill.  This was the primary motivation behind the present work with the objective of enlisting all the vertebrate fauna, excluding fishes, from Panchet Hill protected forest.

 

Materials and Methods

Study area: Panchet Hill (23.60N & 86.70E) is a hillock with an elevation of about 650m, and of hard rock present amidst undulating topography of laterite, gravel mixed red soil of district Purulia, West Bengal (Mandal 2012).  The Damodar River marks the northern boundary of this region while Panchet Dam is located adjacent to it (Fig. 1).  Prevailing environmental conditions of this region are extreme where summer temperature rises up to 400C while in winter the temperature drops down to 70C.  Annual average rainfall measures about 170cm.  According to the biogeographic zone given by Rodgers et al. (2002) Panchet hill lies in the bio-geographic zone 6 (Deccan Peninsula).  The vegetation of the present study location is dominated by Butea monosperma and Borassus flabellifer.  The dominant shrubs species include Ricinus communis, Zyzypus sp., Ipomea sp. and Calotropis procera while dominant herb species includes Euphorbia hirta, Cyperus rotundus and Solanum nigrum.  Different grasses are also commonly found in this area which include Cynodon dactylon, Dactyloctenium aegypticum, Pannicum antidotale and Saccharum spontaneum EMTRC (2016).  This luxurious vegetation of Panchet Hill protected forest was predicted to support rich faunal diversity and the two day study by EMTRC team (2016) most clearly indicated that.

Data collection: In the present study focus was given for studying only vertebrate fauna excluding fishes.  The study was conducted between June 2013 and May 2015.  Sampling was done on the first week of each month during the entire study period.  As there existed no single sampling method by which the vertebrate diversity could be holistically assessed multiple methods were applied in the present study for yielding the best results and is depicted in Table 1.  Relevant literature was followed for identification of different vertebrate species during the present study (Grimmett et al. 1998; Daniel 2002; Whitaker & Captain 2008; Menon 2014).

 

Results and Discussion

India harbours 6051 vertebrate species which is 6.85% of the species in the world (Chandra et al. 2017).  West Bengal is home to 1831 vertebrate species (Sanyal et al. 2012).  The present study which was conducted between June 2013 and May 2015 revealed 106 different vertebrate species (Table 2).  Aves represented the highest diversity with 63 species (59%) followed by Reptilia (19 species, 18%) and Mammalia (11 species, 14%) while Amphibia recorded as the lowest with nine species (9%) (Fig. 2). In a similar  study, Pramanik et al. (2010) had reported two amphibian species, four reptilian species, 29 bird species and two mammalian species during their one year long study (2007–2008) from Kulik Bird Sanctuary, Raiganj, West Bengal, India, while Bhupathy et al. (2012) reported 34 amphibian species, 72 reptilian species, 160 bird species and 39 mammalian species during their three year long study (2006–2009) from Megamalai landscape, Western Ghats, India.  Several researchers around the globe have emphasised the negative influence of anthropogenic intervention on the structure, dynamics and functioning of the forest reserve (Martínez-Ramos et al. 2016).  The vegetation present in Panchet Hill is rarely primary, most often secondary, shaped typically by anthropogenic interventions of regular clearing and regeneration on nutritionally impoverished soils. Consequently, the vegetation is less dense and less lofty, often disturbed and degraded.

As a matter of fact, the present study location suffers from both direct and indirect anthropogenic interventions which include exploitation of biodiversity for food, fuel, fodder and recreation. Surroundings of Panchet hill is devoid of any major industrial setup except for a single sponge iron factory.  This factory is actually located within a 100m radius of the southeastern face of Panchet Hill and which is in operation since 2010.  During the present study pollutants released from the factory caused the ground to be covered with ash and slag while flying ash was found to leave black soot over plant leaves even at the heaight above 50m (Image 1).  EMTRC (2016) have reported occurrence of pollution resistant invasive plant species like Lantana camara, Parthenium sp., and Tridax procumbens with an overall decrease in native plant species diversity from the polluted site.  Lower vertebrate diversity was noted from the polluted southeastern face of Panchet Hill in comparison to all the other sites as well.  Most of the species recorded during the present study belong to ‘Least Concern’ category as designated by IUCN (2017); however, Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus and Striped Hyaena Hyaena hyaena belong to ‘Near Threatened’ category while White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis belongs to ‘Critically Endangered’ category.  Striped Hyaena Hyaena hyaena was observed only once during the present study but reports  by local villagers suggest that they were spotted at least five times during the present study duration.  White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis was recorded three times during the present study.

Our record of 106 different vertebrate species from Panchet Hill (Garh Panchkot), Purulia in West Bengal forms the base line information.  Additional studies including multiple plant and animal taxa will enrich our knowledge about diversity of wild species from this ecoregion.  Such studies will help in assessing the spatial and temporal distribution pattern and population status, which are vital for preparing a conservation plan to support sustainable development.

 

References

 

Bhagwat, S.A., C.G. Kushalappa, P.H. Williams & N.D. Brown (2005). A landscape approach to biodiversity conservation of sacred groves in the Western Ghats of India. Conservation Biology 19: 1853–1862.

Bhupathy, S., G. Srinivas, N. Sathishkumar, M. Murugesan, S. Babu, R. Suganthasakthivel & P. Sivakumar (2012). Diversity and conservation of selected biota of the Megamalai landscape, Western Ghats, India. Current Science 102(4): 590–595.

Chandra, K., S. Sheela & D. Das (2017). Animal Discoveries 2016: New species and new records. Zoological Survey of India, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Kolkata, 108pp.

Daniel, J.C. (2002). The Book of Indian Reptiles and Amphibians. 1st Edition. Oxford University Press, Bombay, 252pp.

EMTRC (2016). Biodiversity conservation plan of Panchet hill (Garh Panchkot): Near Village: Parbatpur, Tehsil: Raghunathpur, District: Purulia, West Bengal. EMTRC Consultants Pvt. Ltd., Delhi & PG Department of Conservation Biology Durgapur Government College, West Bengal, 41pp; http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/FormB/EC/Additional_Report/04022017QJ7F473FBiodiversityConservationplan.pdf

Gaston, K.J. & J.I. Spicer (2004). Biodiversity: An Introduction. 2nd Edition. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK, 191pp.

Grimmett, R., C. Inskipp & T. Inskipp (1998). Birds of the Indian Subcontinent. Oxford University Press, Delhi, 888pp.

Hughes, J.B., G.C. Daily & P.R. Ehrlich (1997). Population diversity: its extent and extinction. Science 278: 689–692.

IUCN (2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017–3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 26 February 2018.

Mandal, S.K. (2012). Survey of wetlands in Puruliya District, West Bengal, with special emphasis on their macrophytes. PhD Thesis. Department of Botany, The University of Burdwan, 377pp.

Marcot, B.G. & J.B. Nyberg (2005). The future of forest biodiversity conservation amidst development: reflection and vision. International Forestry Review 7: 21.

Martínez-Ramos, M., I.A.O. Rodrígueza, D. Piñerob, R. Dirzoc & J. Sarukhán (2016). Anthropogenic disturbances jeopardize biodiversity conservation within tropical rainforest reserves. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113(19): 53235328.

Menon, V. (2014). Indian Mammals - A Field Guide. Hachette Book Publishing Indian Pvt. Ltd., 528pp.

Pramanik, A.K., K.B. Santra & C.K. Manna (2010). Abundance and diversity of plants and animals in the Kulik bird sanctuary, Raiganj, West Bengal, India. Journal of Biodiversity 1(1): 13–17.

Raha, S. & H. Mallick (2016). Piscicidal and fish stupefying plants used by tribal people living around Panchakot hills, Purulia, West Bengal, India. International Journal of Life Sciences 5(1): 27–30.

Rodgers, W.A., H.S. Panwar & V.B. Mathur (2002). Wildlife Protected Area Network in India: A Review (Executive summary). Wildlife Institute of India. Dehradun, 44pp.

Sanyal, A.K., J.R.B. Alfred, K. Venkataraman, S.K. Tiwari & S. Mitra (2012). Status of biodiversity of West Bengal. Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata, 969pp+35pls.

UNEP (2001). India: state of the environment 2001. United Nations Environment Programme, Regional Resource Centre for Asia and the Pacific, Pathumthani, Thailand.

WBFD (2017). West Bengal Forest Department; http://www.westbengalforest.gov.in/history.php.  Accessed on 29.09.2017

Whitaker, R. & A. Captain (2008). Snakes of India - The Field Guide. Draco Books, Chennai, 385pp.

WII ENVIS (2017). ENVIS Centre on Wildlife & Protected Areas; http://www.wiienvis.nic.in/Database/Protected_Area_854.aspx. Accessed on 29.09.2018

 

 

 

 

Table 2. Checklist of vertebrate species of Panchet hill as recorded in the present study. 

 

Class / Common name

Local name

Scientific name

Abundance

IUCN status

 

Amphibia

 

 

 

 

1

Indian Common Toad

Kuno byng

Duttaphrynus melanostictus

++++

LC

2

Indian Marbled Toad

Metho byng

Duttaphrynus stomaticus

++

LC

3

Indian Bullfrog

Sona byng

Hoplobatrachus tigerinus

++++

LC

4

Jerdon's Bullfrog

Kola byng

Hoplobatrachus crassus

++

LC

5

Indian Cricket Frog or Rice Field Frog

Jijhi byng

Fejervarya limnocharis

+

LC

6

Indian Burrowing Frog

Gortobasi byng

Sphaerotheca breviceps

+

LC

7

Common Indian Tree Frog

Gecho byng

Polypedates maculatus

 

+++

LC

8

Ornamented Pygmy Frog

Metho byng

Microhyla ornata

+++

LC

9

Asian Painted Frog

Metho byng

Kaloula pulchra

++

LC

 

Reptilia

 

 

 

 

1

Indian Flapshell Turtle

Kachim

Lissemys punctata

++

LC

2

Yellow-bellied House Gecko

Tiktiki

Hemidactylus flaviviridis

++++

NA

3

Brook's House Gecko

Tiktiki

Hemidactylus brookii

++++

NA

4

Forest Calotes

Jangli Girgiti

Calotes rouxi

+++

NA

5

Peninsular Rock Agama

Pahari Girgiti

Psammophilus dorsalis

++

LC

6

Oriental Garden Lizard

Girgiti

Calotes versicolor

++++

NA

7

Common/Brahminy Skink

Takshak

Eutropis carinata

++

LC

8

Asian Chameleon

Bohurupi

Chamaeleo zeylanicus

+

LC

9

Common Indian Monitor

Gosanp

Varanus bengalensis

++

LC

10

Blind Snake

Telega sanp

Ramphotyphlops braminus

+++

NA

11

Buff-striped Keelback

Hele sanp

Amphiesma

stolatum

++++

NA

12

Checkered Keelback

Joldhora

Xenochrophis piscator

++++

NA

13

Common Krait

Chiti sanp

Bungarus caeruleus

++++

NA

14

Banded Krait

Sakhamuti

Bungarus fasciatus

++

LC

15

Rat Snake

Sona dhamna

Ptyas mucosa

++++

NA

16

Boa

Thutu sanp

Eryx johnii

+

NA

17

Indian cobra

Gokhro

Naja naja

+++

LC

18

Viper

Chondrobora

Vipera russelli

++

NA

19

Python

Ajogor sanp

Python molurus

++

NA

 

Aves

 

 

 

 

1

Little Egret

Korche bok

Egretta garzetta

++++

LC

2

Intermediate Egret

Boro bok

Egretta intermedia

++++

NA

3

Cattle Egret

Gobok

Bubulcus ibis

++++

LC

4

Asian Opened-billed Stork

Samukkhol

Anastomus oscitans

++++

LC

5

Black-headed Ibis

Sada Kaste bok

Threskiornis melanocephalus

+

NT

6

Red-naped Ibis

Kalo Kaste bok

Pseudoibis papillosa

+

LC

7

Little Cormorant

Pankouri

Phalacrocorax niger

++

LC

8

Black-winged Kite

Kapasi

Elanus caeruleus

++

LC

9

White-rumped Vulture

Sokun

Gyps bengalensis

+++

CE

10

Shikra

Shikra

Accipiter badius

+++

LC

11

Brahminy Kite

Sonkhochil

Haliastur indus

++

LC

12

Black Kite

Chil

Milvus migrans

++++

LC

13

Common Kestrel

Pokamar

Falco tinnunculus

++

LC

14

Grey Francolin

Titir

Francolinus pondicerianus

++

LC

15

Bush Quial

Bater

Perdicula asiatica

++

LC

16

Blue Rock Pigeon

Payra

Columba livia

++++

LC

17

Spotted Dove

Tile ghughu

Streptopelia chinensis

++++

NA

18

Eurasian Collared Dove

Konthi ghughu

Streptopelia decaocto

+++

LC

19

Yellow-footed Green-pigeon

Harial

Treron phoenicoptera

++

LC

20

Red Turtle Dove

Lal Ghughu

Streptopelia tranquebarica

++

LC

21

Laughing Dove

Khude Ghughu

Streptopelia senegalensis

++

LC

22

Rose-ringed Parakeet

Tia

Psittacula krameri

++++

LC

23

Plum-headed Parakeet

Fultusi

Psittacula cyanocephala

++

LC

24

Common Hawk-cuckoo

Chokhgelo

Cuculus varius

++

LC

25

Asian Koel

Kokil

Eudynamys scolopacea

++++

LC

26

Greater Coucal

Kubo

Centropus sinensis

+++

LC

27

Spotted Owlet

Kuture pecha

Athene brama

++

LC

28

Common Barn Owl

Lakshmi pecha

Tyto alba

++

LC

29

Asian Palm Swift

Tal chorai

Cypsiurus balasiensis

++++

LC

30

Little Swift

Batasi

Apus affinis

+++

LC

31

Asian Green Bee-eater

Banaspati

Merops orientalis

++++

LC

32

Indian Roller

Nilkontho

Coracias benghalensis

+++

LC

33

Common Hoopoe

Mohanchura

Upupa epops

+++

LC

34

Black-rumped Flameback

Katthokra

Dinopium benghalense

+++

LC

35

Blue-throat Barbet

Basantabouri

Megalaima asiatica

+++

NA

36

Barn Swallow

Ababil

Hirundo rustica

+++

LC

37

White Wagtail

Sada Khanjan

Motacilla alba

++++

LC

38

Yellow Wagtail

Holud Khanjan

Motacilla flava

+++

LC

39

Australasian Pipit

Charchari

Anthus novaeseelandiae

++

LC

40

Red-vented Bulbul

Bulbuli

Pycnonotus cafer

++++

LC

41

Red-whiskered Bulbul

Sipahi bulbul

Pycnonotus jocosus

++++

LC

42

Brown Shrike

Korkota

Lanius cristatus

++

LC

43

Oriental Magpie-robin

Doyel

Copsychus saularis

++++

LC

44

Indian Robin

Shamya

Saxicoloides fulicata

+++

LC

45

Jungle Babbler

Chatare

Turdoides striatus

++++

NA

46

Common Tailorbird

Tuntuni

Orthotomus sutorius

+++

LC

47

Purple Sunbird

Moutusi

Nectarinia asiatica

+++

LC

48

Indian Silverbill

Sormunia

Lonchura malabarica

+++

LC

49

Scaly-breasted Munia

Tilemunia

Lonchura punctulata

+++

LC

50

Baya Weaver

Babui

Ploceus philippinus

+++

LC

51

House Sparrow

Chorai

Passer domesticus

+++

LC

52

Common Myna

Salikh

Acridotheres tristis

++++

LC

53

Asian Pied Starling

Bona salikh

Sturnus contra

++++

NA

54

Chestnut-tailed Starling

Kath salikh

Sturnus malabaricus

+++

LC

55

Brahminy Starling

Bamune salikh

Sturnus pagodarum

+++

LC

56

Black-hooded Oriole

Benebou

Oriolus xanthornus

+++

LC

57

Golden Oriole

Sonabou

Oriolus kundoo

++

LC

58

Black Drongo

Finge

Dicrurus macrocercus

++++

LC

59

Small Blue Kingfisher

Choto machranga

Alcedo atthis

+++

LC

60

White-breasted Kingfisher

Dholabuk Machranga

Halcyon smyrnensis

+++

LC

61

Rufous Treepie

Harichacha

Dendrocitta vagabunda

+++

LC

62

House Crow

Kak

Corvus splendens

++++

LC

63

Large-billed Crow

Darkak

Corvus macrorhynchos

++

LC

 

Mammalia

 

 

 

 

1

Indian Hare

Khorgosh

Lepus nigricollis

++

LC

2

Indian Crested Porcupine

Sojaru

Hystrix indica

+

LC

3

Northern Plains Gray Langur

Hanuman

Semnopithecus entellus

+++

LC

4

Indian Grey Mongoose

Neul

Herpestes edwardsii

++

LC

5

Common Palm Civet

Gondhogokul

Paradoxurus hermaphroditus

+

LC

6

Indian Flying Fox

Badur

Pteropus giganteus

++++

LC

7

Indian Pygmy Bat

Chamchike

Pipistrellus tenuis

++++

LC

8

Common Palm Squirrel

Kathbirali

Funambulus palmarum

++++

LC

9

House Rat

Idur

Rattus rattus

+++

LC

10

House Mouse

Nengti idur

Mus musculus

+++

LC

11

House Shrew

Chucho

Suncus murinus

+++

LC

12

Indian Mole-rat

Metho idur

Bandicota bengalensis

+++

LC

13

Striped Hyaena

Lakra

Hyaena hyaena

+

NT

14

Bengal Fox

Khaksial

Vulpes bengalensis

++

LC

15

Jungle Cat

Bonbiral

Felis chaus

+

LC

 

Abbreviations used: Relative abundance expressed as ‘+’ means less abundant; ‘++’ means more abundant and so on. CE - Critically Endangered, LC - Least Concern, NA - This taxon has not yet been assessed for the IUCN Red List, NT - Near Threatened.