Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary

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Context:

  • A study that examined pollution levels found the water quality unsafe for the visiting avifauna.

A threat to the biodiversity:

  • Chemical companies and small-scale shrimp farms around the wetland have started to pose a threat to the biodiversity and ecosystem of the sanctuary.
  • Atmospheric temperature, the pH and salinity of the water exceeded permissible limits.

About Point Calimere Sanctuary

  • It is a protected area in Tamil Nadu, along the Palk Strait where it meets the Bay of Bengal at Point Calimere in Nagapattinam district.
  • The sanctuary was created in 1967 for conservation of blackbuck antelope which was Near Threatened then.
  • It is a declared Ramsar conservation site.
  • The sanctuary is famous for large congregations of water birds including Greater Flamingos.
  • Several sites of religious, historical or cultural importance are located within the sanctuary.
  • It is basically an island surrounded by Bay of Bengal, Palk Strait and swampy backwaters and salt pans.
  • Sand dunes, tidal mud-flats and shallow seasonal ponds are found along the coast.

Biodiversity

  • It is an area of high biodiversity, with many unique species of animals and birds.
  • The flagship species is Blackbuck antelope.
  • Other fauna include spotted deer, jackal, bonnet monkey, wild boar, monitor lizard, small Indian civet, star tortoise, Indian grey mongoose etc.
  • Bottlenose dolphin are found along the shore, which is also a regular nesting site of olive ridley turtle.
  • This site has recorded the second largest congregation of migratory water birds in India.

Water birds:

  • These water birds include threatened species such as spot-billed pelican, Nordmann’s greenshank, spoonbill sandpiper and black-necked stork.
  • Near threatened species include black-headed ibis, Asian dowitcher, lesser flamingo, spoonbill, darter and painted stork.
  • Several species of land birds are also found.
  • This site is a mix of salt swamps, mangroves, backwaters, mudflats, grasslands and tropical dry evergreen forests.

About Blackbuck:

  • It is one of the four antelope species in India. Chinkara, Chausingha and Nilgai being the other three.
  • The blackbuck is endemic to the Indian subcontinent, found in India, Pakistan and Nepal.
  • It status improved from Near Threatened to Least Concern.

Source:TH