A six year research study on wildlife conducted by Jayaditya Purkayastha of Help Earth, an NGO in Guwahati found that the city contains 26 species of amphibians, 57 species of reptiles, 214 species of birds, and 36 species of mammals only.
The research was carried out to study the existing species of vertebrates during a period of five years from 2011-16.
Purkayastha said that when changes occur in urban landscapes, biodiversity also changes. The anthropogenic factor plays a key role in altering the ecosystem in urban areas where the rate of loss of biodiversity and habitat destruction is high. Thus biodiversity assessment is necessary to devise strategies for conserving the remaining species of fauna.
Since research wasn’t conducted in the past, there isn’t much record of the biodiversity changes in the city.
The result of the study was published in the current Journal of Threatened Taxa. The research methodology followed was visual-encounter survey employing randomized walks. Also, an active search method was employed specifically for herpetofaunal survey.
Among amphibians, 26 species were found to be existing. Seven families of amphibians were found. Among these, a single species is vulnerable, four species were deemed data deficient and 21 species were of least concern, 11 species are included in Schedule IV of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and the rest were non-scheduled species.
Among reptiles, 53 species were found to be existing .11 families of reptiles were found. Among these, a single species is extinct in the wild (black soft-shell turtle), two species are endangered, five are vulnerable, 31 species are not evaluated and 14 species are of least concern. Most of the turtles were found to be living in the ponds of Kamakhya and Ugratara Temples, reports The Telegraph.
Purkayastha also explained about the various kinds of habitation suitable for each species in his study.
He also said that children’s biodiversity tours carried out through school ecological club programmes and the district administration can help in raising awareness and conservation of the biodiversity of Guwahati.