Another Golden Gecko ‘discovered’

 

K. Venkateshwarlu

HYDERABAD: In what could be termed as gold rush of sorts, another Golden Gecko, the “severely endangered lizard” has been found in the State this time in the equally threatened Papikonda hills of the northern Eastern Ghats abutting Godavari river.

“It was discovered by a team of World Wide Fund for Nature- India during one of its nature camps at the Papikonda hills ”, said Farida Tampal, director of WWF- India, Andhra Pradesh Chapter. The primitive living lizard protected by the Schedule I Part II of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 was sighted a few months ago but not highlighted till it was published in a research journal recently.

For wildlife enthusiasts it is big news coming as it were close on the heels of its sighting in Seshachalam hill ranges by young researcher, M. Rajasekhar of Sri Venkateswara University. Its sighting in northern Eastern Ghats is significant as it was earlier thought to be endemic to Seshachalam hill ranges in the south, the WWF team said.

However, this endemic and range restricted species is now facing an imminent threat from the construction of the Indira Sagar Project (Polavaram project) which threatens to inundate the hills.

The Golden Gecko belongs to Gekkonidae, a family consisting of some of the most primitive living lizards. The genus Calodactylodes consists of large, distinctive geckos inhabiting rocky habitat in peninsular India and Sri Lanka. The Golden Gecko holds special interest to herpetologists as it represents one of only two known species in the genus Calodactylodes, considered relics of the Gondwana period in the earth’s geological history. The WWF team conducted a short but intensive survey to investigate their population.

source: The Hindu ePaper, Thursday, Oct 04, 2007 http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/04/stories/2007100453740600.htm