Madayipara Biodiversity Heritage Site, the laterite hillock surrounded by the Kuppam, Ramapuram, and Peruvamba rivers and the Kavvayi backwaters adjacent to the sea, is set to be declared a Biodiversity Heritage Site as the Kerala State Biodiversity Board has initiated steps to make the proposal a reality.
Section 7 of the Biological Diversity Act 2002, allows the government in consultation with the local bodies concerned to identify areas rich in biodiversity and cultural importance to declare them as BHS. Located 21 km north of the district headquarters at Kannur, the hillock which spreads over 365 hectares, is an ecological niche of conservation importance and hence environmental activists and nature enthusiasts are pleased by the Kerala State Biodiversity Board’s move to declare the biodiversity-rich flat hilltop as a Biodiversity Heritage Site.
When the area has been brought under the legal framework of the BHS, it will ensure legal protection against destructive activities, including waste dumping that will endanger the biodiversity of the protected area. Mean time, there will not be any restriction on interests of the traditional owners (Chirakkal Kovilakam Devaswom) and the conduct of rituals associated with a local ‘kavu’ (sacred grove). The hillock is also associated with rituals and folklore. The 10-day Pooram festival at the Madayi Kavu is very popular in the region. The ‘joothakkulam’ (jew tank) on the hillock is a historical testimony to the Jewish settlement in the areas centuries ago. Near to the sacred grove, there is a perennial lake having a total extent of 1.5 acres
Rich flora and fauna
The hillock represents less than 0.01 per cent of Kannur district. But it harbours 58.75 per cent of the flora of the district. With regard to the bio-diversity of Madayipara, it has been found that the region contains about 300 flowering plants, about 30 varieties of grass and several insect-eating plant species. Madayipara is also home to several rare medicinal herbs.
According to conservation experts, the area provides a variety of habitats for many animals and plants during the wet season (June to November) and the temporary pools formed during the wet season serve as refuge for migratory birds. A total of 657 species of plants were documented from Madayipara,” said Muhamed Jafer Palot of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), greeting the proposed declaration of the hillock as BHS.
Dr. Palot, who has studied the richness of flora and fauna of Madayipara mentions that the fauna recorded from the area included 142 butterfly species, 186 bird species including 20 reported first time in the State, 60 species of odonates, 24 species of reptiles, and 19 species of amphibians, including rare and endangered ones. Pied Wheatear, a rare migratory bird, was recently spotted at Madayipara by a bird watcher. Assumend to have come from East China or Mongolia and would be on its way to East Africa.
Nearest railway station: Pazhayangadi, about 2 km; Kannur, about 25 km
Nearest airport: Calicut International Airport, about 140 km