Thursday, July 14, 2011

Interesting facts about Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Marine life in Andaman Islands
  • World’s largest sea turtles - the leatherback turtles - come to the calm and serene waters of Andaman Islands every year for nesting.
  • These endangered species - called Dermochelys Coriacea - look huge - growing up to two meters long and one meter in diameter and growing up to 500 kg in weight.
  • These turtles flock to Andaman coast line in huge numbers - as many as 1,000 turtles every year.
  • Only four places in the world can boast of these nesting places and Andaman is one with 30 of its islands where the turtles nest nominated as National Parks.
  • As many as 94 islands have been chosen as National Parks - including those with nesting leatherback turtles.
  • These Islands include some 8 National Sea Parks as well.
  • Commercial fishing is not encouraged generally in Andaman Islands and no fishing is allowed in the restricted and reserve areas except by the aboriginal tribe people who live in the restricted areas. Hence it is where "fish die of old age" because they are allowed to live a full life.
About land life

There are exotic animals, birds and butterfly species which are endemic to only these areas which add to the ecological special nature of these islands.
  • There are as many as 58 species of animals live in Andaman & Nicobar Island Groups. Some 60% of these animals are endemic to these islands only.
  • There are a host of butterflies flocking to the thick tropical forests of Andaman Islands.  Half of these butterflies are found only in these Islands.
  • The largest of the land-living arthropod (Birgus Latro) lives in Andaman Islands. These are land-living crabs. Since they climb up coconut trees at night time for the soft kernels of tender coconuts stealthily they are nick-named as - ‘Robber Crabs.’ They make a tiny hole and suck the entire kernel portion leaving out the shells as they are. These crabs are found in some parts of Nicobar Islands as well as areas of South Sentinel Island.
  • Very few of the state animal Dugong are held in captivity as they are very shy and do not breed easily. There are only five dugongs in captivity in the world. Japan and Australia each have two dugongs at Mie Toba Aquarium and at Sea World on the Gold Coast, Queensland where they draw huge crowds of visitors. The fifth dugong is in Singapore at Underwater World, Sentosa Island. As they prefer the sea grass abundantly available along the Andaman Island coast line, sometimes lucky visitors have been able to spot them in all their natural glory!

Many plant species and their subspecies found in many of the Andaman & Nicobar Island Groups are endemic to these areas. Nowhere else in the world you can find them generally.
  • Some 40% of plants and their subspecies found Emerald Island is endemic to only that island.
Ecological specialties
  • Andaman Islands have the distinction of having the only active volcano in all South Asia regions. Barren Island which is some 135 km northeast of Port Blair is where you can see the live volcano but from a distance.
  • Katchal Island in Nicobar Islands enjoyed the distinction of being the first place to receive the first sunrays of this millennium sunrise.

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