It is amazing to know that a tiny protected area measuring just 270.57 hectares (ha) serves as the green lungs to a great metropolitan city in Tamil Nadu. This is the Guindy National Park, located in the heart of Chennai’s metropolitan area.
About Guindy National Park
- Guindy National Park is India’s eighth-smallest national park and one of the very few national parks located inside a city.
- The park is an extension of the grounds surrounding Raj Bhavan, formerly known as the ‘Guindy Lodge’, the official residence of the governor of Tamil Nadu.
- This green patch, with a multitude of trees, shrubs and herbs, not only purifies the air but also acts as a habitat for a wide number of faunal species.
- The area where the national park is located was once spread across five sq km.
- It was one of the last remnants of the tropical dry evergreen forests of the Coromandel Coast.
- In 1978, this small area, popularly known as Guindy Deer Park, was declared as a national park.
- The park then started playing a major role in the ecological environment of Madras.
- Guindy National Park is one of the last homes of a relict vegetation, the Carnatic coastal or tropical dry evergreen forest type of the Coromandel coast.
- The ecosystem consists of the rare tropical dry evergreen scrub and thorn forests that receive about 1,200 millimetres rainfall annually. About 350 species of plants have been identified so far including trees, shrubs, climbers, herbs and grasses.
- The open grassland found here is an ideal habitat for blackbucks.
- The park abounds in spotted deer and blackbuck.
- The near threatened blackbuck, considered the flagship species of the park, was introduced in 1924 by Lord Willingdon, who later served as the 22nd Governor-General and Viceroy of India.
- Guindy Snake Park is next to the Guindy National Park. It gained statutory recognition as a medium zoo from the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) in 1995.
- If all state governments emulate the model of Guindy National Park, develop such forest areas and declare them as protected areas, the human-made disaster of global warming and climate change can be mitigated without much difficulty.
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