Uttarakhand News

Elegant Water Shrew found for the first time in Uttarakhand Himalayas

by Abhay Aswal
Jan 08, 2018

Researchers and experts of Wildlife Institute of India (Dehradun) have located a new species of water shrew for the first time in Western Himalayas (Uttarakhand). Known as the ‘Elegant Water Shrew’, this species’ presence in South Asia was limited to North Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and some parts of Nepal but never before in Western Himalayas. A team of researchers from WII consisting of Aashna Sharma , Vandana Rajput , Vineet K. Dubey , Aavika Dhanda and Shagun Thakur led by scientists K. Sivakumar, J.A. Johnson and S. Sathyakumar have published this interesting finding in the Journal of Threatened Taxa in December last month.

Rarely caught in the fishing nets, whenever reported, these elusive shrews are even tougher to be captured on cameras or visually encountered due to their tendency to hide underwater or river bank vegetation and debris while foraging . Although there have been many surveys conducted by various ichthyologists and naturalists in the western Himalaya, there have been no scientific reports of this species till date, which might be due to lesser interest in its distribution and rare sightings of the same.

– team of WII researchers and scientists

Water shrew is the smallest of amphibious mammals and currently has 13 known species in the world. Out if this, elegant watershed has been less studied due to its elusive nature and rare appearances on camera. While IUCN has listed it under the ‘least concerned’ categorty due to lesser information available about this species, a more in-depth of the Elegant Water Shrew might help in raising its category of higher concern.

Inputs from Hill Post 

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