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Guindy National Park
IUCN Category II (National Park)
Blackbuck Antelope Guindy's Flagship Species
Guindy National Park
Location of Guindy National Park
in Tamil Nadu and India
Coordinates 13°00′09″N 80°13′51″E / 13.00259°N 80.23079°E / 13.00259; 80.23079
Country  India
State Tamil Nadu
District(s)   Chennai
Established 1977
Nearest city Chennai (Madras)
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Area
Elevation
2.70 km2 (1 sq mi)
6 m (20 ft)
Climate
Precipitation
Temperature
• Summer
• Winter

     1,200 mm (47.2 in)

     38 °C (100 °F)
     20 °C (68 °F)
Visitation/year 700,000/2006[1]
website Guindy National Park

Guindy National Park is a 2.82 km2 (1.09 sq mi) Protected area of Tamil Nadu, located in Chennai, South India, is the 8th smallest National Park of India and one of the very few national parks situated inside a city. The park is an extension of the grounds surrounding Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the Governor of Tamilnadu, India. It extends deep inside the governor's estate, enclosing beautiful forests, scrub lands, lakes and streams.

Contents

History

Once covering an area of 5 km2 (1.93 sq mi) of one of the last remnants of Tropical dry evergreen forest of the Coromandel Coast, Guindy Park was originally a game reserve. It was established as a Reserve Forest in 1910 then owned by a British citizen named Gilbert Rodericks. Chital (Spotted Deer) were introduced into the park probably after 1945. It was transferred to the Tamil Nadu Forest Department in 1958. It was walled off from the adjacent Raj Bhavan and Indian Institute of Technology Madras Campus in the late 1980's.[2]

Habitats

The Guindy National Park, Raj Bhavan and IIT-Madras habitat complex has historically enjoyed a certain degree of protection and has continued to support some of the last remnants of the natural habitats that typify the natural range of plant and animal biodiversity of north-eastern Tamil Nadu.[3][4] The presence of the park and the surrounding green areas resulted in the byname, "the green lungs of Chennai", for the Adyar-Guindy area.

The park has a dry evergreen scrub and thorn forest, grasslands and water-bodies with over 350 species of plants including shrubs, climbers, herbs and grasses and over 24 varieties of trees, including the Sugar-apple, Atlantia monophylla, Wood-apple, and Neem. This flora provides an ideal habitat for over 150 species of birds. About one-sixth of the park has been left as open grassland to preserve that habitat for blackbucks. Though both the species of blackbuck and spotted deer have their natural habitat in grassland, the spotted deer prefer bushes and can adjust in land covered with shrubbery.

Fauna

There are over 14 species of mammals including Blackbuck, Chital or Spotted deer, Jackal, Small Indian Civet, Common Palm Civet, Bonnet Macaque, and three-striped palm squirrel.

The endangered blackbuck, considered the flagship species of the park,[5] has seen a population decline in recent times. Per the census conducted on February 29, 2004, the population of Blackbuck was 405 (10 spotted in the IIT campus).[2]. The chital population in the Park, however, appears to have been steady or even increased since their introduction into the area many decades ago[6]. Per the census conducted on February 29, 2004, the population of the spotted deer was 2,650. Of these, 1,743 were female and 336 were fawns. The census was taken in the Guindy National Park and the adjoining areas of the Indian Institute of Technology and the Raj Bhavan campus using King's Transect method, which would only reveal the numbers close to the actual figure.

The park has over 150 species of birds including partridges, pheasants, parrots, quail, paradise fly-catcher, Black-winged kite, Honey Buzzard, Pariah kite and Eagle. Bird watchers anticipate migratory birds here like teals, garganeys, pochards, Medium egrets, large egrets, night herons, pond herons and open-billed storks every fall season.[7]

There are also many kinds of amphibians and reptiless. Some species of tortoise and turtles- especially the endangered Star Turtle, lizards, geckos, chameleons and the common Indian monitor lizard are found here, as well as a large variety of insects including 60 species of spiders and 60 species of butterflies.

Guindy Snake Park and Children's Park

Spotted Deer (Chital) at Guindy National Park
Indian Peafowl at Childrens Park

Guindy Snake Park, formerly the location of Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, is next to the Guindy National Park. The Snake Park in Chennai gained statutory recognition as a medium zoo from the Central Zoo Authority in 1995. There one can see King Cobra, pythons, vipers and other reptiles.

22 acres (8.9 ha) of GNP has been carved out into a park known as the Children's Park and play area at the northeast corner of the national park with a collection of animals and birds. Animals in the Children’s Park include black buck, sambar, spotted deer, porcupine, hyena, jackal, python, grey pelican, night heron, cormorant, cockatiel, parrot, mongoose, common peafowl, crocodile, common otter, rhesus monkey, bonnet monkey and common langur. The Children's Park also exhibits a fossilised tree speciman which is estimated to be about 20 million years old. The Children's Park and the Snake Park have separate entrances and independent entry fees. Drinking water, vendors and catering are available. The entrance lies on the busy Sardar Patel Road next to the Adyar Cancer Institute.

Visitor information

There is a new interpretation center about the biodiversity of the park. Entry into this protected reserve is restricted, and visitors can go into the core area only when escorted by a forest ranger from the Forests Department. [8] Guindy Park is contiguous with the Arignar Anna Zoological Park. It is behind the Gandhi Mandapam, Kamaraj Memorial and Rajaji Memorial on Sardar Patel road on the southern part of Chennai. The rear southeast edge of the park adjoins the campus of Indian Institute of Technology. Along its fringes are the Cancer Institute, CLRI campus, the Anna University and the Raj Bhavan.

The nearest railway station is the Kasturibai Nagar MRTS station which is less than a kilometer away. Guindy station (Suburban Track) is 1 km away. Chennai Egmore Railway station is 9 km away. Chennai Central Railway station is 12 km away. Chennai airport is 8 km away.

For more details contact the Wildlife Warden, 50, IV Main Road, Gandhi Nagar, Adyar, Chennai – 600 020.
or The Wildlife Warden, 259, Anna Salai, DMS Compound, IV Floor, Teynampet, Chennai 600 006 Phone : 24321471 or the Children's Park, Guindy. Enquiry Form[9]

References

  1. ^ "Gunidy National Park". Tamil Nadu Forest Department. http://www.forests.tn.nic.in/WildBiodiversity/np_gnp.html. Retrieved 2007-09-06.  
  2. ^ a b Raman, T. R. S., Menon, R. K. G. and Sukumar, R. (1995) "Decline of blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) in an insular nature reserve—Guindy National Park", Current Science, 68(6):578-580.
  3. ^ Menon, R. K. G. (1986) The Guindy National Park: its history and physiogeography. Blackbuck 2(1): 14-21.PDF
  4. ^ Care Earth (August 2006)Rapid Assessment of Biodiversity on the Campus of Indian Institute of Technology - Madras, The Director, Indian Institute of Technology Madras Chennai - 600 036, retrieved 9/8/2009An Urban Wilderness Revisited, p. 2
  5. ^ "The Indian blackbuck recovers from the brink of extinction in Chennai, India". Oryx (Fauna & Flora International) 42 (4): 481-488. 2008. http://www.careearthtrust.org/14.pdf.  
  6. ^ Raman, T. R. S., Menon, R. K. G. and Sukumar, R. (1996) Ecology and management of chital and blackbuck in Guindy National Park, Madras. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 93(2):178-192.PDF
  7. ^ Oppili P. (Nov 16, 2004) The Hindu, retrieved 5/14/2007 "Looking for exotic species at the Guindy National Park"
  8. ^ David Appasamy (April 21, 2006) "Guindy National Park: National Treasure, Metroblogging Chennai, retrieved 9/6/2007 Chennai's pride"
  9. ^ Tamil Nadu forest Department, Guindy National Park
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