Scorching heat forcing animals out of Seshachalam biosphere

With water sources and food depleting, even shy and critically endangered species are foraying into human habitations

With the summer heat touching 45 degree Celsius, the wild animals in the Seshachalam biosphere, which is spread over Chittoor and Kadapa districts, are facing a torrid time.

The phenomenon, which is preceded by deficit rainfall in the region, is forcing the animals to enter the forest fringe villages to quench their thirst.

The intensity of heat this year is said to be the highest in the biosphere. As a result, even shy and critically endangered species such as the pangolin and the slender loris (devanga pilli) are venturing out of their habitat.

According to information, a combing party of the Red Sanders Anti-Smuggling Task Force spotted an emaciated slender loris close to the Kalyani Dam a few days ago. Before it could be rescued, the animal slid down a tree and vanished into the bushes.

Global warming

In another incident, a forest official found the species close to a human habitation near the Talakona forests.

“It’s a surprise that this nocturnal animal, a rare species to be found close to humans, is seen loitering in a dried up water body in broad daylight,” he said.

Generally found clinging to the top tree branches and moving on the canopy, these animals have become a victim of steady signs of global warming in the biosphere.

In search of water, they are forced to slide down the trees.

The species is considered “critically endangered” in forest parlance, and is poached for its eyeballs and others body parts, which are believed to have healing power for multiple human health debilities.

The pangolin is another species that has fallen on hard times in the biosphere, hit by paucity of food and water sources. The oppressive heat has not only led to vanishing of water in the ditches, ponds and streams but also suppressed the moisture content in the soil.

The anteater is finding it difficult to gather food, mostly worms, insects, flies, bees and ants. Failure of rains for over three years led to the earth developing clods in several parts of the biosphere. These conditions would generally prevent the small creatures from coming out of the earth surface.

Present in small number, the pangolin is not a widely seen animal in the region. However, morning walkers in the forest fringe area in Tirupati have spotted the animal moving feebly towards a water tap, several metres away from the forest. The species is also found close to human habitations surrounding the biosphere.

According to the forest officials, this species is the most smuggled one from India for its scales, which are believed to be in great demand in Vietnam and several South-East Asian nations.

Dig at officials

Nature lovers deplore that no serious efforts are being taken by the forest officials to provide succour to the animals during summer. Most of the saucer pits and ditches inside the forest are found empty while the summer is at its peak, they lament.

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