142 pages, 20 plates with colour photos and colour illustrations; b/w illustrations, tables
The Western Ghats is not only the "water towers" of the catchment area for a complex river system that drains almost 40% of fresh water in India, but also a home for many of the original Gondwana relicts, the autotochtonous fauna of Peninsular India, the trans-migrants from the Palearctic. Later, Indo-Chinese and Malayan species and some Himalayan relicts, which reached Peninsular India during the glacial periods, have found refugium here for evolutionary phenomena to operate on them. It is also an area where amphibians, fishes, hosts of insects and other groups are regularly described as new to science. Besides, it is an abode for endemic and endangered species of plants and animals. Recently, Western Ghats was announced as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in India, as it has outstanding examples representing significant ongoing ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of ecosystems and communities. It also contains the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of oustanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.
The present work gives an overview of the faunal diversity, distribution, endemism, and threat perception based on IUCN, CITES, and the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act in Western Ghats. The faunal analysis justified this area being declared an independent Indian Hotspot, delineated from the Sri Lanka Hotspot due to a certain degree of unique isolation and speciation.
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