Tuesday, June 1, 2010

THE SAMBAR | Cervus unicolor

Largest deer found in India, abundant in wildlife sanctuaries and also in the Reserve Forests of Kerala. Seen in herds of four or five animals. But lager herds of up to 50 have been reported from Periyar and Parambikulam. Only the makes have the antlers and are shed annually. If the area is disturbed by human pressure, we will have to depend on indirect signs for recording the presence of sambar.Pellets and hoof marks are the best indirect signs.

Scientific name : Cervus unicolor

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Suborder: Ruminantia
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Cervinae
Genus: Rusa
Species: R. unicolor
Binomial name: Rusa unicolor

Local names : Mlavu, Kadaman, Kalaman.

Habitat : All habitats in hill areas, evergreen, semi evergreen, moist deciduous and dry deciduous forests.
Distribution : Widely distributed. Seen in all forest areas in Kerala. Frequent in Parambikulam, Chinnar wildlife sanctuaries and Periyar Tiger Reserve.
Indirect evidences : Pellets, hoof marks, feeding signs, shed antlers, rubbing on trees, alarm calls and remains of kills. The alarm calla of the animal when chased is typical and echo’s the whole forest.
Faecal matters : Pellets are found in groups. Sambar has the biggest sized pellets compared to other deer species in Kerala. Pellets are elongated in shape with colour varying from back to green. Texture of the pellet is rough. Mean pellet length is 10.5 mm and mean diameter 10.6 mm. Hoof marks are seen near water holes and on the river banks.

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