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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Western Ghats - our ticket to paradise

The Western Ghats is home to one of the most diverse biological treasures in India.  This 1600 kilometre long abode, spanning an area of 60,000 km2 and sandwiched between the Tapti River (on the border of Gujrath and Maharastra) and Kanyakumari (in Tamil Nadu) is the home to perhaps the maximum number of unique organisms that can be found at one location in the entire universe!

Here a small list to give you a fair idea of what this number is -
  • 137 species of Mammals
  •  508 species of birds
  •  332 species of butterflies
  • 290 species of fish
  • 203 species of reptiles
  • 181 species of amphibians
  • 77 species of fresh water molluscs
  • 270 species of land snails

And most importantly 375 of these are endangered.

Some facts –

  1. The WWF (World Wildlife Foundation) has tagged the Western Ghats bio reserve as critically endangered
  2. The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has enlisted in its list of World Heritage Sites
  3. The WCMC (World Conservation Monitoring Center) has categorically stated this region as the most important fresh water biodiversity in the world.
  4. It is one of the 34 Global Biodiversity hot-spots
  5. It finds itself a place in the list of 8 hottest biodiversity hot-spots of the world

The ever increasing human activity in and around this region poses the following threat to this biodiversity:
  • Agricultural activities in the form of coffee cultivation and livestock grazing have resulted in considerable encroachment onto the forest land.
  • The numerous proposed mini hydroelectric projects
  • The proposed diversion of the Netravati River
  • Climate change
  • Illegal and Legal mining activities
The Western Ghats are our nearest ticket to paradise! It’s worth saving this ticket for the future. Let us all unanimously oppose any government policy that threatens this paradise and banish any political party that tries to implement such a policy.