Home to 668 species; IIM Calicut as a haven for biodiversity

Home to 668 species; IIM Calicut as a haven for biodiversity

The IIM Calicut (IIMK) campus is blessed with the presence of hundreds of different species. In the latest survey, 668 species of life were found on the campus. Researchers estimate that the place has rich biodiversity as part of the Western Ghats ecosystem. 668 species of birds, plants and other species have been found here. The survey was conducted under the initiative of Malabar Natural History Society (MNHS).

The 113-acre campus is home to 350 species of plants, 189 invertebrates, 19 amphibians, 22 reptiles, 69 birds and 19 mammals. IM Kozhikode’s campus preserves natural diversity without compromising bio-richness and inspires a lifestyle that ensures sustainability. IIMK’s Green Initiatives Committee and student-led Ecology Club in collaboration with MNHS led the research.

The research was carried out by combining the disciplines of botany, zoology and environmental studies under one roof. The study involves various stages like field surveys, data collection and analysis. The study found that IIM Kozhikode is a microcosm of the biodiversity hotspot of the Western Ghats, ranging from lush tropical rainforests to coastal ecosystems. The richness of the Western Ghats lies in its diversity of endemic species and unique ecological features.

IIMK campus is no exception in this regard. The campus is home to everything from endemic to exotic plants. For example, the survey found Holigerna arnotyana, found in the southern Western Ghats, Bismarckia nobilis, found in Madagascar, African plant species Kigelia africana and Acacia auriculiformis, found in Australia. The Malabar Striped Gull, the state butterfly of Kerala, which deserves special protection under the Wildlife Protection Act, has also been spotted on campus.

Interestingly, the state butterfly of Karnataka, the Southern Birdwing, is also found on campus. The campus is also home to rare species of lizards like the Chendumala Gecko, Chendumala ensis, Bengal Monitor Lizard of the genus Udumb, Indian Rock Python, Mandibular Viper and Spectacled Cobra.

As many as 16 species of reptiles have been found at IIMK, which are classified under various categories under the Wildlife Protection Act. Of the 19 species of amphibians found on campus, 40 per cent have their natural habitat in the Western Ghats region. Of these, the Urban Golden Backed Frog and the Kerala Kittering Frog are indigenous to Kerala.

They are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s list of endangered species. These groups also deserve special protection under the Wildlife Protection Act. The survey team found 19 mammal species that were directly sighted and have presence on campus. Of these, 12 species require special protection.

Both species are endemic to southern India. The 69 bird species include some migratory birds. The campus is also considered a safe haven for native species, including some that are endangered.

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Weather Journalist at metbeatnews.com. Graduated in English from Calicut University, and holds a Diploma in Electronics and Communication from Thiruvananthapuram Press Club and master of communication and journalism (MCJ) from Bharatiyar University with 6 years of experience in print and online media.

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