Critically endangered plant species recorded for first time in Manipur - Hindustan Times
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Critically endangered plant species recorded for first time in Manipur

Nov 25, 2023 02:33 PM IST

The Saurauia Punduana plant was recorded during a recent Rapid Biodiversity Assessment (RBA) field survey

A critically endangered species as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, has been recorded for the first time in Manipur’s Tamenglong district.

Saurauia Punduana- critically endangered plant species (HT Photo/Sourced)
Saurauia Punduana- critically endangered plant species (HT Photo/Sourced)

The Saurauia Punduana plant was recorded during a recent Rapid Biodiversity Assessment (RBA) field survey.

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“We’ve recorded Saurauia Punduana, which has no local name, as a critically endangered species for the first time in our recent survey,” said Principal investigator RK Birjit Singh of the Weeklong RBA field survey, conducted between April 25 to May 1, 2023.

The survey was done along the 1.8km transact within the Longku forest of Dailing village, 157 km west of Imphal in Manipur’s Tamenglong district.

Flowers of Saurauia Punduana turn white to pink on maturity. Petals are pink, ovate to obovate curled at the tip. Its fruits are spherical shining white, and are used in veterinary medicine. The native range of this species is from Bhutan to Southeastern Tibet.

“The presence of these plants is still there in our area, but the number of plants is decreasing considerably. We called this plant Anoibang,” said Kachintou Pamei of Dailong village.

The survey was conducted under the aegis of the Corbett Foundation, Mumbai, as a part of the collaboration between Mangolnganbi College, Ningthoukhong, Manipur and Corbett Foundation Mumbai. The survey covered the key areas of the biodiversity heritage sites of Longku forest.

“Over 186 plant species belonging to 82 families were reported, which included 29 species of ethnomedicinal plants commonly used by the Rongmei tribes of Dailong village during the survey,” according to the 35 paged report of the survey, which was released during a function at Mangolnganbi College recently.

In the survey, out of 186 plants, a total of 86 tree species, 27 shrub species and 73 herb species were observed.

A total of 103 avian species (100 resident and three migratory) belonging to 34 families have also been recorded. The bird species include three threatened species listed as vulnerable and seven near threatened species under Birdlife International and IUCN Red list, including two endemic species, as per the report.

The vulnerable species are the Rufous-necked hornbill (Aceros nipalensis), Slender-billed babbler (Turdoides longirostris), and Grey-sided thrush (Turdus feae), while two endemic bird species are Grey sibia (Heterophasia gracilis) and Darjeeling Woodpecker (Dendrocopos darjellensis), the survey added.

In the RBA field survey, at least 82 species of butterfly (Lepidoptera) have been recorded and identified up to species level from five families, which includes two very rare species. White Dragon tail Lamproptera curious and Green Dragon tail Lamproptera meges.

The presence of highly endemic reptile species such as Cherrapunji Keelback hebius xenura, which itself is another record documentation for the first time in the state and flying lizard Draco species and Lepidoptera species, the survey report added.

“The report does not include a complete checklist of all flora and fauna of the Dailong village due to the limited time and resources provided to the team. But no doubt the village is uniquely deserved to be declared one of Manipur’s key Biodiversity heritage sites,” it said.

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