2017 Activities . . .
Feasibility study for establishment of the first invertebrate sanctuary in India for the Theraphosid spider Poecilotheria hanumavilasumica (Mygalomorphae, Araneae) on Rameswaram Island, Tamil Nadu, India
The goal of the project is to conserve the large bodied Theraphosid spider Poecilotheria hanumavilasumica (Critically Endangered B1ab(ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(ii,iii,iv,v). The objective is to create a micro-sanctuary (Rameswaram Tiger-spider Sanctuary) in its natural habitat that will hold the only left over largest population within its global range of 6 km2.
The proposed PA site, an isolated Tamarind Plantation of very old trees, surrounded by coconut plantations on an Island, is unique in that it is very rare to find Poecilotheria spiders in such large aggregations. The site would make a first class project in that it has achievable objectives and could undertaken at a minimum cost – while affording a perfect opportunity to set up a role model for future projects. Rameswaram Tiger-spider Sanctuary could be an important first step in establishing a series of Invertebrate Micro- Sanctuaries throughout the country / South Asia. The establishment of Sanctuary on this site is also important because our studies in this region indicates that Poecilotheria hanumavilasumica has now only a fragmented distribution in its historical range and is probably India's most endangered Poecilotheria species. It could very well turn out to be that the proposed sanctuary site could be the most important surviving colony of this unique aggregation of these beautiful and increasingly rare species. The key role of the sanctuary would be to act as biological breeding reserves for Poecilotheria hanumavilasumica and other targeted invertebrates such as scorpions, centipedes, beetles, millipedes, snails etc. This area has not been explored much and a detail study will reveal the presence of endemic and threatened invertebrates. These invertebrate groups could be inspired to raise funds for the conservation and preservation of small scale and feasible projects – linked to the local conservation groups/community, who would contribute for the conservation of the sanctuary.
This funding request is to undertake a feasibility study to investigate the possibilities of establishing the Tiger-spidersanctuary in Rameswaram Island, Tamil Nadu, India.