Assessment of Bat diversity in Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary and surrounding PA’s
Bats are a vital component of India’s biodiversity and play key ecosystem roles as seed dispersers, pollinators and pest control agents. Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary, in the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hot spot, is unstudied but likely hosts a very high diversity of bats. We intend to characterize the distribution and diversity of bats in the sanctuary by surveying all habitats including caves.
The Bhimgad WLS and surrounding PAs lie on the crest line of the Western Ghats, (a Biodiversity Hot Spot) comprising a mosaic of forest habitats (tropical evergreen forest, semi-evergreen forest, moist deciduous forest, scrub forest) separated by patches of grassland and exhibit deep winding valleys with gorges, cliffs, surrounded by pristine tropical forest and innumerable caves and caverns.
Hence it is a “hot-spot” for bats. The majority of the mountain tops have lateritic (due to weathering of basalt rock) plateaus and forest, while the steep valleys house vast expanses of forest.
The main objectives of this study are :
– identification of Bat diversity hotspots and critical caves
– detailed Bat Diversity-Distribution database (species list, status – Assessment)
– integrated bat diversity conservation, management plan for Bhimgad sanctuary
– create awareness about bats ecological services amongst multiple stakeholders
– Push for recognition of first bat sanctuary in India
– Build a network of individuals/institutions for conservation- research