Mammals of Kalimpong Hills, Darjeeling District, West Bengal, India

Main Article Content

J.K. Mallick

Abstract

Neora Valley National Park (NVNP) in the Kalimpong Hills, Darjeeling District, having a wide range of altitudinal variations (183-3,200 m) and climatic conditions and forming an ecological trijunction with Sikkim and Bhutan, is the last virgin wilderness in West Bengal. It is a global hotspot for the unique ecosystem, where tropical, sub-tropical, temperate and sub-temperate forests represent a wealth of biodiversity including many threatened and rare mammals. It is the prime habitat of Ailurus fulgens (estimated population 28-32), Neofelis nebulosa (population unassessed), Ursus thibetanus (18), Bos gaurus (81), Hemitragus jemlahicus (32), Naemorhedus goral (73), Capricornis sumatraensis (89), Rusa unicolor (286), Muntiacus vaginalis (590) and Sus scrofa (615). Discovery of Panthera tigris (20) in 1998 prompted the forest department to include NVNP as a sensitive wildlife zone. Many authors recorded the mammalian diversity in Darjeeling District since the mid-nineteenth century, but most of them referred to the Darjeeling Hills. The documentations on Kalimpong Hills are scarce because of the dense canopy, thick undergrowth and inaccessible terrain, particularly in the pristine forests of Neora Valley. Consequently, a comprehensive compendium of the mammals in this region was not prepared. A study was undertaken in 2008-2009 with a view to bridging this knowledge-gap and presenting an updated account of the mammalian species in this new short-listed World Heritage Site and surrounding forests of the Kalimpong Hills based on literature review, questionnaire survey, direct sighting and indirect evidences. During June-October 1916, N.A. Baptista recorded 29 mammalian species (22 genera) out of 563 specimens collected, from the region. The present study registered 99 species (68 genera) after 94 years.

Article Details

How to Cite
[1]
Mallick, J. 2012. Mammals of Kalimpong Hills, Darjeeling District, West Bengal, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 4, 12 (Oct. 2012), 3103–3136. DOI:https://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o2418.3103-36.
Section
Reviews
Author Biography

J.K. Mallick

Jayanta Kumar Mallick postgraduated in 1974, joined the Wildlife Wing (Headquarters) in 1976 and has been working as PA to PCCF, Wildlife, West Bengal, for the last 37 years. Worked in the Project of the North-East India Task Force, IUCN/SSC/Elephant Specialist Group and also as project consultant of the Indian Society for Wildlife Research, Kolkata. He has been involved in all departmental publications, has participated in departmental workshops, undertaken a number of studies, is looking after departmental data bank and has more than hundred published articles, study reports, book and book-chapter on wildlife conservation, particularly of mammals.