1st National Conference on ‘‘Lesser Known Species of Madhya Pradesh’’

By Ruchi Mishra

As we witness the International programme of Cheetah reintroduction in India at Kuno National Park, made us rethink the conservation of many such species which are either lesser known or less studied or researched or are on the verge of extinction in MP. This plotted the stage to organize a conference to talk about them, know their current status, their conservation challenges and how to do or plan the way forward in their conservation, as we do not wish to see more such reintroduction programmes of endemic species to balance our ecosystem and to save the species from Extinction.

Madhya Pradesh harbors more than 45 species of mammalian fauna (Wroughton 1913, Harshey and Chandra, 2001) which is about 10% of India’s wild mammals (Menon 2014).

It broadly lies in the Deccan Plateau, the largest biogeographic zone of India. Madhya Pradesh is the second largest state in India with an area of 3,08,245 km2, covering almost 9.38% of geographical area of the country of which 25.13% is forested. It has the largest forest cover (77,462 kms) among all the Indian states. It has 09 National Parks, 25 Wildlife Sanctuaries and 06 Tiger Reserves as Protected Areas which constitutes 3.25% of the total geographical area.

In Madhya Pradesh other than known species of Fauna such as Tiger, Leopards, Bison, Black Bucks, Peafowls, Parakeets, Mynas, Fruit Bats, Rat Snakes, Indian Rock Python etc. Some lesser-known species such as Mouse Deer, Lesser Florican, Black bellied Tern, Indian Skimmer, Pangolin, Indian Wolf, Fishing Cat, Wild Dog, River Dolphin etc. are also found.

The main aim of the 1st National Conference on Lesser-known species of MP was to highlight the conservation efforts and management challenges of these species. We organized this conference in Collaboration with Madhya Pradesh State Biodiversity Board (MPSBB), Supported by Madhya Pradesh Tiger Foundation Society (MPTFS), Bhopal Birds & Van Vihar National Park & Zoo Bhopal.

With the discussion and presentation on the above species the stakeholders were sensitized and many researchers and NGO’s agreed to do research projects and work on conservation measures for these
species, MPSBB invited the projects to support financially in study & research for these species, the people active in field of nature conservation came together under one roof to plan and act for the
way forward for the conservation of these species.

Shri Jasbir Singh Chauhan, PCCF Wildlife & CWLW Madhya Pradesh said that the forest department will work on conservering caracals; they might introduce them in some potential part of MP. He also emphasized on the work and support of NGO’s in Conservation and wildlife Management including the
mitigation of Man – Wildlife conflicts. Shri Suhas Kumar, IFS (Retd) was happy with the topic of status of small cats in Madhya Pradesh; this will help in planning their conservation management plans.

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