Goa pitches for heritage list berth with rare bats
Panaji: Making its representation to get Goa region of Western Ghats included as world heritage site by UNESCO, the state forest department has said that its forests are the only home on earth for rare species of bat – The Giant Indian Mastiff.
The forest department, in its draft letter prepared last week, to be submitted to UNESCO, has said rare ‘Wroughton’s free-tailed bat’ (The Giant Indian Mastiff) has been recorded in this contiguous region, which is already declared protected.
The only known roosting site of this bat on this planet falls just outside the boundary of the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, the department has said.
Additional principal chief conservator of forest Richard D’Souza, who drafted the letter, has said “till date, the range of this bat is not known and it is almost certain that it falls inside the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary.”
In July 2012, the Western Ghats along with 39 serial sites spread across the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala got inscribed as world heritage sites by UNESCO. However, the western ghats falling in Goa were not included in the UNESCO’s list.
The state forest department has said although Goa is the smallest state through which the Western Ghats pass, its forests are vital to maintain the contiguity of the northern and southern stretches of the ghats.
The letter, which will be discussed with Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar before being sent to UNESCO, has also sought declaration of Goa forests as ‘tiger habitat’, D’Souza said.
The presence of tigers in recent years indicates that these protected and contiguous forests of Maharashtra and Karnataka are one of the best potential tiger habitats in the Western Ghats, D’Souza said in the letter.
Besides, the Anshi-Dandeli Tiger Reserve in Karnataka is also contiguous to the Western Ghats of Goa.
The department has said “although the elevation of most of the peaks of Goa’s stretch of Western Ghats are barely 800-1,000 kms above mean sea level, the species diversity and density in core areas is relatively high”.