Express press service
HUBBALLI: In an effort to conserve Karnataka’s wild orchid varieties, the forest department is set to establish an orchidarium in the Kali Tiger Reserve (KTR) of Uttara Kannada district. The orchidarium is under construction in the Nujji village of Joida (Supa) taluk district and will soon be open to nature lovers and visitors.
Construction work has been completed and about 40 varieties of wild orchids found at KTR are being cultivated in the orchidarium. In the coming days, most of the orchid varieties found in the Western Ghats will be added, said Sachin Anil Punekar, conservation biologist and founder of Biospheres-Ecosphere, which helped KRT set up the orchid project. orchidarium. The Western Ghats are home to a rich population of orchids and the majority of them are found in the Kali Tiger Reserve, particularly in the Anshi area of Uttara Kannada district. “Out of 170 species of orchids found in Karnataka, 80 species are from the Anashi region alone. Nearly 20 wild orchids are endemic to this region alone. The orchidarium will serve as a rescue and rehabilitation site for wild orchids,” Punekar said.
He added: “Orchids exist mainly in two varieties, epiphytic and terrestrial. Most orchids bloom during the monsoon and we will introduce terrestrial orchids which are seasonal. We also collect orchids from other parts of the Western Ghats of Karnataka and South India for cultivation in the KTR Orchidarium. The KTR has already started training its frontline staff on how to identify orchids and how to keep them in case they have fallen into the ground. Staff are responsible for searching for orchids, documenting them and reporting to higher authorities. The new orchidarium should help researchers who can study orchid varieties in a repository.
Maria Christu Raja, Manager of Kali Tiger Reserve, said, “We believe the orchidarium will serve as a knowledge center for ex situ conservation of orchids for students and scientists studying the flora of the Western Ghats. He added: “For the public, it will introduce them to the world of orchids and their importance. We are currently working on designing an interpretive framework to present orchid information to the public.