Area in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg named as biodiversity heritage site

A new freshwater fish species — Schistura Hiranyakeshi — was discovered near Amboli in Sawantwadi tehsil of Sindhudurg district.

The Maharashtra government on Wednesday declared an area at Amboli in Western ghats in Sindhudurg district, where a rare freshwater fish species was discovered, as a biodiversity heritage site.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s son Tejas Thackeray, who is a wildlife researcher, and his team had discovered the new freshwater fish species — Schistura Hiranyakeshi — near Amboli in Sawantwadi tehsil of Sindhudurg district.

Schistura Hiranyakeshi is a rare sub-species of Schistura, a freshwater loach. The fish was named after the Hiranyakeshi river near Amboli village.

The State government on Wednesday issued a notification declaring the area at Amboli as a biodiversity heritage site.

Earlier, the State government had declared the Glory of Allapalli in Gadchiroli district, Landor Khori Park in Jalgaon, Ganesh Khind in Pune, myristica swamp vegetation in Sindhudurg district as biodiversity heritage sites.

Schistura is a small and colourful fish that lives in water and streams in an abundance of oxygen.

“The decision to declare the habitat of these freshwater species as the bio-diversity heritage site is taken because it is rare species, and due to fishing activities, it might have faced extinction. It was important to conserve the species,” reads the government notification.

The discoveries of the freshwater fish species were published in the International Journal of Ichthyology in the October 2020 edition by Tejas Thackeray and co-authors.

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