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First ever Nagaland Biodiversity Meet held


Khivikhu Khaki Silverline Spindasis rukmini                                                                Sukhai Glanycus insolitus male

 

Tizu River Bank Great Nawab Charaxes eudamippus pair            Tizu River banks Orange-breasted Freak Calinaga

 

Team checklist 212 species of birds, 155 species of butterflies and more than 200 species of moths

 

Dimapur, May 23 (MExN): The first ever Nagaland Biodiversity Meet was organised from May 9 to 16 to learn about and document the biodiversity of Tizu Valley Biodiversity Conservation & Livelihood Network comprising the villages of Sukhai, Ghukhuyi and Kivikhu in Zunheboto District.

 

The biodiversity meet was organised by TERI, Titli Trust, Diversity India, Nature Mates and Indian Foundation for Butterflies, all not-for-profit organisations. Locally, the meet was organised by the Tizu Valley Biodiversity Conservation & Livelihood Network, a recipient of a special mention award by the Government of India-UNDP India Biodiversity Awards for their contribution to conservation.

 

Pia Sethi, Siddharth Edake, Yatish Lele and colleagues from the Centre of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI) have been working in this landscape for last three years, with support from the Nagaland Forest Department. As an outcome of their efforts, these three villages have voluntarily formed Community Conserved Areas (CCAs) jointly called the Tizu Valley Biodiversity Conservation & Livelihood Network in order to protect their forests and associated biodiversity.

 

Since the beginning of 2017, Titli Trust has been supporting TERI to assess the area’s biodiversity, as well as to evaluate the opportunity to initiate nature-linked tourism as an incentive for conservation. Faunal surveys by the team prior to the Biodiversity Meet have resulted in a checklist of 212 species of birds, 155 species of butterflies and more than 200 species of moths so far.

 

Many new and interesting records have already been documented. Flocks of the rare white-headed morph of the Himalayan Black Bulbul (Hypsipetesleucocephalus) have been seen in Sukhai and Kivikhu. The extremely rare birds, Naga Wren-babbler Spelaeornischocolatinus and Hodgson’s Frogmouth (Batrachostomushodgsoni) have been sighted in the landscape.

 

Amongst the butterflies, the endemic Naga Emperor (Chitorianaga) and the Rufous Silverline (Spindasisevansii) have been reported here; both are extremely rare species. Amongst the moths, Comostolahauensteini has been recorded for the first time from Nagaland, while Kranandalucidaria has been reported for the first time from India. Despite these very interesting records, the area’s biodiversity remains un-explored.

 

The Nagaland Biodiversity Meet was organised to continue documentation of the area’s biodiversity. Sixteen participants, which included wildlife researchers, experienced naturalists, students and nature lovers from all across the country-Kolkata, Dehradun, Delhi, Bongaigaon, Calicut, Malappuram to name a few cities, gathered for the meet.

 

While the records from the meet are still being compiled, more than 170 species of butterflies were recorded including the spectacular Stately Nawab (Charaxesdolon) and the Great Nawab (Charaxeseudamippus). Other interesting butterfly species that were recorded include the Orange-breasted Freak (Calinaga brahma), Manipur Map (Araschniadohertyi), Khaki Silverline (Spindasisrukmini) amongst many others, whose identities are being verified. More than 250 species of moths were recorded including the male and female of the rare Picture-winged Leaf Moth (Glanycusinsolitus). The visitors participated in the biodiversity surveys, stayed in local homestays in the villages of Sukhai and Khivikhu, tasted sumptuous local cuisine, watched the traditional Sema dances and engaged with the local community to understand their activities to conserve their natural resources.

 

Not only will the presence of the visitors boost nature-based ecotourism, but also the biodiversity assessment will further add to the knowledge of the faunal biodiversity of Nagaland. The records of birds, butterflies and moths would be shared through Biodiversity Atlas – India (http://bioatlasindia.org/), informed a press release issued by Pia Sethi, TERI and Sanjay Sondhi, Titli Trust.