Amboli Integrated Conservation (AIC) Project: Assessment & Conservation of Various Fauna in Amboli, India
Amboli, situated in the Northern Western Ghats of the state of Maharashtra, India is already very well known for its incredible biodiversity. Bounded by Radhanagari Wildlife Reserve in the north, and the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary in the south, Amboli has long been the sought-after destination for observing its herpetological diversity including critically endangered species such the Amboli Toad and the Amboli Bush Frog apart from over 200 species of birds, endemic species of insects and plants as well as threatened species of mammals. Our objective would be to do a biodiversity inventory of Amboli and have already made beginnings from a herpetological standpoint. The team will also attempt to engage with the forest department to implement measures to reduce ecosystem pressures such as unchecked garbage disposal, illegal constructions and roadkills.
Rationale for Study
Since the last 10 years, Amboli and its surrounding areas have become very popular with tourists as well as researchers, students and professional and amateur photographers. An estimated 10,000 people visit Amboli every year just in the months of monsoon when breeding activities of reptiles and amphibians are highest. Severe damage is caused due to trampling and handling or relocation of animals. There have also been instances of specimen collection for study without required legal permissions. This has opened easy lucrative avenues for wildlife tour operators in Amboli. Many new resorts and hotels are coming up, some in or near breeding sites of endemic and threatened species. Proposals have been made to widen paths for more approachable entry to tourists, which could be detrimental to the wildlife. Threats also include road-kills and increasing pollution of plastics and liquor bottles. There has also been talk of modernising and making Amboli a ‘smart’ city and through the hill station can benefit from greater provision of modern amenities and facilities, but in the absence of an integrated study of the biodiversity of the region, it would mean that rampant infrastructural growth would destroy pristine habitats that need to be preserved for the ecological security of the region.
Contribution of Work
While there are many studies which have their origin in Amboli, these are largely species-specific and involving descriptive characteristics of biology. Our objective will be to first collect baseline data to get a better understanding of the biodiversity as a whole of various fauna. For this purpose, we will be mapping the areas to be covered and will undertake visual encounter surveys with a dedicated team of experts and field assistants over the course of 3 days once in each of the 12 months addressing bird, reptile, amphibian, insect and plant diversity. Once an inventory has been created and specific areas along with microhabitats have been identified, we then intend to conduct further studies on population monitoring and breeding behaviour of threatened species in which we hope to identify the threats to these and the consequent conservation actions to be undertaken.
As part of our coordinated efforts with the Malabar Nature Conservation Club, we will be recommending measures via the local biodiversity committee and work with the forest department to determine their feasibility and implementation. These measures might include a checkpost for monitoring plastic and liquor bottles being carried, registration whenever nature trails are being carried out, speeding limits and cordoning sensitive breeding habitats from excessive vehicle movement among several others.
|Budget for First Year||Amount|
|A) Accommodation (2000X3 roomsX12 months)||1,44,000|
|B) Travel (1500X10 peopleX12 months)||1,80,000|
|C) Food (200X6 mealsX10 peopleX 12months)||1,44,000|
|D) Honorarium for Project Coordination (2500X2 peopleX12 months)||60,000|
|E) Honorarium for Researchers (2500X8 peopleX12 months)||2,40,000|
Proposal by: Shashank Birla and Team