Survey of Flora & Fauna of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary

The reserved forest in the lower catchment of Mahananda River, in the district of Darjeeling, West Bengal, had been declared as Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary in 1976. The sanctuary falls in the transition zone between Peninsular Indian Sub-region and Indo-Malayan Sub-region of Oriental region and has one of the richest heritages of wild flora and fauna. In recent times, a lot of developmental activities around the Sanctuary had led to increased biotic pressure in some parts of the Sanctuary, but unfortunately, no systematic attempt has been made to determine the range and extent of the present floral and faunal diversity of the region. However, before such managerial interventions for the development of wildlife habitat are initiated, baseline information on flora and fauna of the Sanctuary was necessary.

The proposed project is expected to generate a reasonably exhaustive information-base for the Sanctuary, with respect to its floral and faunal wealth, which will be helpful to analyse the results of past management and provide direction for future wildlife management.

Funded By: Dept. of Forests, Govt. of West Bengal
Project Duration: 1991 (1 year)

1) Floral survey: Floral survey of the Sanctuary will be carried out to identify mainly the major tree; shrub and herb species occurring in the region.

2) Faunal survey: Faunal survey will be carried out to identify major vertebrate species occurring within the Sanctuary. Particular emphasis will be given to study the mammals and avifauna of the region.

3) Water parameters: the dissolved oxygen, free carbon-di-oxide, pH value and hardness of the principal water bodies within the Sanctuary will be determined.

A) Observations:

1) Occurrence of usual mammals was recorded and photo captured whenever possible.

2) There is a marked variation of bird species in different seasons and in different altitudes.

3) Movements of Pied Indian Hornbill, Black and Lesser Racket tail Drongo can be observed throughout the year.

4) Among the birds of prey, Red breasted Himalayan Falconets are found in different altitudes throughout the year. Other than that, Serpent eagle, Black crested Baza, Changeable Hawk eagle are also quite common.

5) Water birds like Ducks and Waders are generally found in Tista barrage area and in Sukna lake in winter. Only Pheasant, other than Peafowl and Red jungle fowl were found in different altitudes, especially in winter.

6) Unusual sightings of Black & Yellow Grosbeck and Black Redstart were recorded.

7) Occurrences of usual Butterflies & Moths, Amphibians & Reptiles and Flora were recorded and photo captured whenever possible.

B) Checklist of all the Floral and Faunal species was made and published in the detailed report submitted along with coloured photographs.