Sunday 14 July 2013

The little-known biodiversity hotspot

The GKVK campus in Bangalore is one of the city’s little known biodiversity hotspots. This campus of the University of Agriculture Sciences (UAS) was locked in a battle with the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to preserve and protect its rich flora and fauna. 
The battle lasted several years with each of the party sticking to it stand. While the BBMP wanted to build a road through the vast and sprawling campus, the UAS opposed it tooth and nail and it was finally left to the Karnataka High Court to come to its aid, by halting the road work.
The 1200-acre campus of Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra or GKVK had lost 24 acres of prime land for the BBMP’s Yelahanka-Yeshwanthpur road link.
Unfortunately, it was not the BBMP alone which sought the land. There are several other agencies which are already eyeing the vast and sprawling campus on the Bangalore-Hyderabad road. Some of these agencies include the Police Department, Fire Force, National Seeds Corporation, Department of Science and Technology, Meteorological Department, Open University and Department of Social Welfare.
What is surprising is that all these agencies and departments belong to the Government and it is really strange that these agencies are eyeing the land which belong to a premier educational and research institution. The State Government has already taken away 120 acres from GKVK and it has sought an 100 acres,     
The campus has an enviable list of rare plants and shrubs. It is matter if pride that 167 hectares, spread across 14 patches, plantation and orchards in 99 hectares which are home to rare species of plants and rare butterflies.
The vast grounds also play host to 50 plants, 165 bird species, 90 types of butterflies and ten species each of mammal and reptile that are unique to the area. Apart from this, there are 277 species of  fungi, 53 species of mite and a patch of scrub forest which has been in existence since 1573.
There are also abundant number of sandalwood trees in the campus. The Teachers Association and the Employees Association of the UAS (GKVK) had compiled and filed before the Karnataka Human Rights Commission a list of the flora and fauna of the campus.
The list has been reproduced as it is.

Flora of  GKVK campus

The list says 530 plant species have been recorded at GKVK by Fathima (1974). Of these, 46 species are medicinal plants,
24 species have high medicinal value, 6 are rare plant species,
4 species are endemic (to deciduous forest) species and one is an endangered species (Albizia odoratissima).
It says GKVK has a very high density of sandalwood growth and the conditions are ideal for its natural regeneration.
List of mammals in GKVK
Macaca radiata (Bonnet Macaque):  Loris tardigradus (Slender Loris): Felis chaus (Jungle Cat): Herpestes edwardsi (common Mongoose): Canis aureus (Jackal):  Pteropus giganteus (Flying Fox):  Cynopterus sphinx (Shortnosed Fruit Bat): Pipistrellus coromandra (Indian Pipistrille): Fanambulus palmarum (Three-striped Palm Squirrel): Bandicota benghalensis (Indian Mole Rat):
Bandicota Indica (Badicoot): Lepus nigricollis (Black-naped Hare): Sus scrofa (Wild Boar).

List of  birds
Podiceps ruficollis (Little Grebe):


Phalacrocorax niger (Little Cormorant)


Ardeola grayii (Pond Heron):  Bubulcus ibis (Cattle Egret): Egretta intermedia (Smaller Egret): Egretta garzetta (Little Egret): Anastomus oscitans (Open bill Stork):


Threskiornis aethiopica (White Ibis): Pseudibis papillosa (Black Ibis)

Elanus caeruleus (Black winged Kite):  Pernis ptilorhynchos (Honey Buzzard): Milvus migrans (Govinda Pariah Kite):
Haliastur Indus (Brahminy Kite):  Accipiter gentilis (Goshawk):
Accipiter badius (Shikra): Accipiter nisus (Sparrow Hawk):  Butestar teesa (White eyed Buzzard): Aquila rapax (Tawny Eagle): Aquila clanga (Greater Spotted Eagle):  Gyps benghalensis (Whitebacked Vulture):  Neophron percnopterus (Scavenger Vulture): Circus pygargus (Montague's Harrier): Circus aeruginosus (Marsh Harrier): Circaetus gallicus (Short-toed Eagle): 


Falco tinnunculus (Kestrel):

Francolinus pondicerianus (Grey Partridge): Perdicula Asiatica 
(Jungle Bush Quail):

Amouronis phoenicurus (Whitebreasted Waterhen):

Vanellus indicus (Red-wattled Lapwing): Vanellus Malabaricus  (Yellow-wattled Lapwing): Charadrius  dubius (Little Ringed Plover): Trings stagnatilis (Marsh Sandpiper): Tringa nebularia       (Greenshank): Tringa Ochropus (Green Sandpiper): Tringa glareola (Wood Sandpiper): Actitis hypoleucos (Common Sandpiper): Gallinago stenura (Pintail snipe): Gallinago gallinago (Fantail Snipe):  Rostratula benghalensis (Painted Snipe):
Burhinus oedicnemus (Stone Curlew):

Columbas livia (Blue Rock Pigeon): Streptopelia chinensis (Spotted Dove): Streptopelia senegalensis (Little Brown Dove):

Pstittacula  krameri (Roseringed Parakeet): Psittacula cyanocephala (Blossmheaded Parakeet): Psittacula columboides (Bluewinged Parakeet):

Clamataor coromandus (Redwinged Crested Cuckoo):  Clamator jacobinus (Pied Crested Cuckoo): Cuculus varius (Common Hawk-cuckoo): Cuculus micropterus (Indian Cuckoo): Cacomantis sonneratii (Baybanded Cuckoo): Surniculus lugubris (Drongo Cuckoo): Eudynamys scolopacea (Koel): Rhopodytes viridirostris   (Small Greenbilled Malkoha): Centropus sinensis (Coucal):


Tyto alba (Barn Owl):  Otus bakkamoena (Collared Scops Owl):   Bubo bubo (Great Horned Owl):  Athene brama (Spotted Owlet):

Caprimulgus asiaticus (Common Indian Night jar): Caprimulgus affinis Franklin's (Allied –Nightjar):


Apus affinis (House  Swift):  Cypsiurus parvus (Palm Swift):

Ceryle rudis (Pied Kingfisher): Alcedo Atthis (Small Blue Kingfisher): Halcyon smyrnensis (Whitebreasted Kingfisher):

Merops orientalis (Small Green Bee-eater):

Coracias benghalensis (Indian Roller):

Upupa epops (Hoopoe):

Megalaima viridis (Small Green Barbet): Megalaima haemacephala (Crimsonbreasted Barbet):

Dinoplium benghalense (Golden backed Woodpecker):  Chrysocolaptes festivus (Blackbacked Woodpecker):

Pitta brachyura (Indian Pitta):

Mirafra Jalvanica (Singing Bush Lark): Eremopterix grisea (Ashy crowned Finch Lark):  Ammomanes phoenicurus (Rufous-tailed Finch lark):  Alauds gulgula (Skylark):

Hirundo concolor (Dusky Crag Martin): Hirundo rustica    (Common Barn Swallow): Hirundo smithii (Wire-tailed Swallow):
Hirundo daurica (Red-rumpled Striated Swallow):

Lanius excubitor (Grey Shrike):  Lanius vittatus (Baybacked Shrike): Lanius schach (Rufousbacked Shrike): Lasnius cristatus  (Brown Shrike):

Oriolus oriolus (Golden Oriole): Oriolus xanthornus (Blackheaded Oriole):

Dicrurus adsimilis (Black Drongo): Dicrurus leucophaeus (Grey Drongo): Dicrurus caeruleascens (White-bellied Drongo):  Dicrurus hottentottus (Haircrested Drongo): Artamus fuscus ( Ashy Swallow shrike):

Sturnus malabaricus malabaricus (Greyheaded Myna): Sturnus Pasgodaraum (Blackheaded Myna): Sturnus roseus (Rosy Pastor):
Acridotheres tristis (Indian Myna): Acridotheres fuscus (Jungle Myna):

Dendrocitta vagabunda (Indian tree Pie): Corvus splendens (House Crow): Corvus macrorhynchos (Jungle Crow):

Tephrodornis pondicerianus (Common Wood Shrike): Coracina novaehollandiae (Large Cuckoo-Shrike): Coracina melanoptera Blackheaded (Cuckoo shrike): Pericrocotus cinnamomeus (Small Minivet):

Aegithinia tiphia (Common Iora): Chloropsis cochinchinensis (Goldmantled Chloropsis):

Pycnonotus Jocosus (Redwhiskered Bulbul): Pycnonotus Cafer   (Redvented Bulbul): Pycnonotus luteolus (Whitebrowed Bulbul):

Dumetia Hyperythra (Whitethroated Babbler): Chrysomma sinense (Yelloweyed Babbler): Turdoides caudatus (Common Babbler): Turdoides malcolmii (Large Grey Babbler): Turdoides affinis (Whiteheaded Babbler): Muscicapa latirostris (Brown Flycatcher):
Muscicapa parva (Redbreasted Flycatcher): Muscicapa Whitethroated (Fantail Flycatcher): Prinia subflava (Plain Prinia):
Prinia socialis (Ashy Prinia): Prinia sylvatica (Jungle Prinia):
Orthotomus sutorius (Tailor Bird): Acrocephalus aedon    (Thickbilled Warbler): Acrocephalus stentoreus (Indian Great Reed Warbler): Acrocephalus dumetorum (Blyth's Reed Warbler):
Hippolais caligata (Booted Tree Warbler): Phylloscopus affinis   (Tickell's Leaf Warbler): Phylloscopus occipitalis (Largcrowned Leaf Warbler): Phylloscopus trochiloides (Greenish Leaf Warbler):
Erithacus svecius (Bluethroat): Erithacus brunneus (Bluechat):
Copsychus saularis (Magpie Robin): Phoenicurus ochruros (Black Redstarat): Saxicola torquata (Stone Chat): Saxicola caprata (Pied Bush Chat): Saxicoloides fulicate (Indian Robin): Monticola cinclorhynchus (Blueheaded Rock Thrush): Monticola solitarius  (Blue Rock Thrush): Zoothera wardii (Pied Ground Thrush):
Zoothera citrina (Whitethroated Ground Thrush): Turdus Merula   (Blackbird): 


Parus major (Grey Tit):


Anthus trivialis (Tree Pipit): Anthus novaeseelandiae (Paddyfield Pipit): Motacilla indica (Forest Wagtail): Motacilla flava Thunbergi (Greyheaded Yellow Wagtail): Motacilla cinerea (Grey Wagtail): Motacilla alba (White Wagtail): Motacilla maderaspatensis (Large Pied Wagtail):

Cicaeum agile (Thickbilled flowerpecker): Dicaeum erythrorhynchos (Tickell's Flowerpecker):

Nectarinia zeylonica (Purplerumped Sunbird): Nectarinia lotenia   (Loten's Sunbird): Nectarinia asiatica (Purple Sunbird):

Zosterops palpebrosa (White eye)


Passer domesticus (House Sparrow): Ploceus philiplpinus (Baya Weaver Bird): Estrilda amandava (Red Munia): Lonchura malabarica (Whitethroated Munia): Lonchura striata
(Whitebacked Munia): Lonchura punctulata (Spotted Munia):
 Lonchura malacca (Blackheaded Munia):

List of reptiles

Psammophilus dorsalis (Peninsular Rock Agama): Calotes versicolor (Garden Lizard): Chaemeleon zeylanicus (Chameleon):
Python molurus (Indian Python): Eryx jhoni Red (Sand Boa):
Ptyas mucosus (Rat Snake): Athaetulla nasutus (Green Vine Snake): Bungarus caerulescens (Common Krait): Naja naja (Cobra): Vipera russeli (Russel's Viper):
List of butterflies
Family Papilionidae
Troides minos (Southern Birdwing): Ploydorus hector (Crimson Rose): Ploydorus aristolochiae (Common Rose): Papilio polymenstor (Blue Mormon): Pailio crino (Common Banded Peacock): Papilio polytes (Common Mormon): Papilio demoleus (Lime Butterfly): Graphium sarpedon (Common Bluebottle):
Graphium doson (Common Jay): Graphium Agamemnon (Tailed Jay):
Family Pieridae
Leptosia nina (Psyche): Delias eucharis (Common Jezebel): Cepora nerissa (Common Gull): Anapheis aurota (Pioneer): Ixias marianne (White Orange Tip): Colotis eucharis (Plain Orange Tip):
Colotis danae (Crimson Tip): Hebomoia glaucippe (Great Orange Tip): Veleria veleria (Common Wanderer): Catopsilia crocale (Common Emigrant): Catopsilia pyranthe (Mottled Emigrant):
Eurema blanda (Three Spot Grass): Eurema hecabe (Common Grass Yellow):
Family Danaidae
Danais plexippus (Common Tiger): Danais chrysippus (Plain Tiger): Danais limniace (Blue Glassy Tiger): Danais melissa (Dark Blue Tiger): Danais aglea (Glassy Tiger): Euploea core (Common Indian Crow): Euploea coreta (Double brand Black Crow):
Family Satyridae
Mycalesis perseus (Common Bushbrown): Mycalesis subdita (Tamil Bushbrown): Leeuropa Bamboo (Treebrown): Ypthima asterope (Common Threering): Ypthima baldus (Common Fivering): Melanitis leda (Common Evening Brown): Elymnias hypermnesta (Common Palmfly):
Family Nymphalidae

Euthalia garuda (Baron): Euthalia nais (Baronet): Neptis hylas (Common Sailer): Hypolimnas bolina (Great Eggfly): Hypolimnas missipus (Danaid Eggfly): Precis hierta (Yellow Pansy): Precis orithya (Blue Pansy): Precis lemonias (Lemon Pansy): Precis almana (Peacock Pansy): Precis iphita (Chocolate Pansy): Atella phalantha (Common Leopard): Ergolis ariadne (Angled Castor):
Ergolis merione (Common Castor):

Family Acraeidae

Telchinia violae (Tawny Castor):

 Family Erycinidae

Abisasa echerius (Plum Judy):
Family Lycaenidae

Talicada nyseus (Red Pierrot): Castalius rosimon (Common Pierrot): Castalius caleta (Angled Pierrot): Syntarucus plinius (Zebra Blue): Azanus jesous (African Babul Blue): Lycaenopsis puspa Common (Hedge Blue): Chilades laius (Lime Blue):  Zizeeria putli (Southern Grass Jewel): Zizeeria lysimon (Dark Grass Blue): Zizeeria gaika (Tiny Grass Blue): Zizeeria otis (Lesser Grass Blue): Euchrysops cnejus (Gram Blue): Euchrysops pandava (Plains Cupid): Catochrysops strabo (Forget-me-Not):  Lampides boeticus (Pea Blue): Jamides bochus (Dark Cerulean):
Jamides celeno (Common Cerulean): Nacaduba nora (Common Line Blue): Curetis thetis (Indian Sunbeam): Spindasis vulcanus (Common Silverline): Tajuria cippus (Peacock Royal): Rapala melampus (Indian Red Flash):
Family Hesperiid
Syrichtus galba (Indian Skipper): Hasora alexis (Common Banded Awl): Badamia exclamationis (Brown Awl): Gangara thrysis (Giant Redeye): Telicota augias (Pale Palm Dart): Baoris colaca (Rice Swift): Udaspes folus (Grass Demon):


1. Fathima, T., Boraiah, G. and Govindu, H.C. 1974. A check list of plants from Hebbal Campus and Gandhi Krishi Vignana Kendra. UAS Tech. Series. University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore.
2. Dr. Balakrishne Gowda, Associate Professor, Dept. of Botany, GKVK, campus, Bangalore.

1. Subramanya, S.
2. Subramanya, S. 1989. Birds of GKVK - An introduction. Vanasuma: Forestry Souvenir 1985-89. Dept. of Farm Forestry, UAS, GKVK, Bangalore.
3. George, J. (ed.) 1994. Checklist of the birds of Bangalore. Birdwatchers' Field Club of Bangalore.1994.
4. Butterflies: P.A. Ullas 


  1. Thanks for this article on GKVK. I lived right next to this place between 1989-2001. Sunday morning's and morning's during summer vacation (5:00AM-9:00AM) were spent in the wilderness of GKVK. I checked Google Earth and most of the wilderness that I knew has been cleared out.. Thanks for bringing back some really fond memories of this place.. I wish I could relive some of those moments... :-)

    1. Yes, Mr. Anon, You are right. Most of the wilderness in the UAS campus has been removed But what little is left has to be preserved and protected. When BBMP, which is the guardian of Bangalore city itself seeks to destroy a rare biodiversity spot, how long can it survive such deliberate and wanton acts of destruction.