The Western Ghats, formed 150 million years ago, are considered one of the 34 biodiversity hot-spots of global importance. Globally around 8,450 species of amphibians are reported and more than 100 news species are being discovered annually in the new millennia. India being one of the global biodiversity hotspots is known to harbour 450 species of amphibians of which 250 are endemic in Western Ghats also.
In a first-of-its-kind of initiative, Tata Power Company, in association with Ela Foundation released their 4th book on ‘Amphibians of the Northern Western Ghats‘, of all 52 species of amphibians in Gujarat, Diu, Daman, Dadra Nagar Haveli, Maharashtra and Goa.
The book has been penned by Dr Satish Pande, a radiologist, sonologist and naturalist with inputs by Vivek Vishwasrao, Head-Biodiversity, Tata Power, NP Gramapurohitersity, Professor at the Department of Zoology, Savitribai Phule Pune Univ and Dr Suruchi Pande, Vice Chairperson of Ela Foundation, who heads Neelkantha Joshi Lab of Ethno-Biology.
“Today, paucity of environment awareness programmes, habitat destruction, urbanisation, deforestation and pollution of water bodies have exerted severe stress on the flora and fauna, particularly amphibians. The book is dedicated to studying and documenting the highly endangered taxon, the fascinating ‘dual life’ of amphibians. I hope the book would be looked upon as an important data base by students, teachers, academicians, herpetologists, environmentalists, ecologists and tourists,” said Dr Praveer Sinha, CEO & MD, Tata Power.
According to Dr K P Dinesh, Scientist-D at Western Regional Centre of Zoological Survey of India, amphibians are primitive among the vertebrates and act as a connecting link between the vertebrate life in water and land.
“Due to their dual mode of life, they are sensitive to slight changes in the aquatic, terrestrial and arboreal environments. For these reasons, amphibians are considered ecological indicators in addition to their significance in many other ecosystem services,” he said.
Vijay Namjoshi, Chief–Generation, Tata Power said, “Understanding biodiversity based on professional scientific study is the first vital step towards its conservation. Tata Power’s commitment to conserving the biodiversity around its key operations in the country has a long and successful history. This is also part of our larger ESG mandate to create more sustainable operations that benefit all our stakeholders in the long run. We will continue to support and invest in such efforts in the future as well.”