Ethnozoological aspects of Kani Tribals in the Agasthiamalai Region of the Western Ghats, Southern India

GUNAMONY, Christopher - Advanced Centre of Environmental Studies and Sustainable Development, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, Kerala, India

Kanikkar is a tribal community living in the forests and its fringes of Agasthiamalai Biosphere Reserve of the Southern Western Ghats. The region is under the “Western Ghats - Srilanka Biodiversity Hotspot”. There are many settlements located inside the forests at various distances from general amenities. Kanikkar sustain themselves by hill agriculture within their settlements and supplement nutritional demands with wild edibles, hunting and fishing. The study is based on observations, interviews and personnel interactions with the tribals. The ethnozoological observations of Kanikkar include uses of 29 types of fishes, crabs, shrimps, clams and snails from the hill streams and other water bodies. It was observed that Kanikkar used 10 species of reptiles, 46 species of birds, 34 species of mammals, few insects and invertebrates for various purposes. The study also examines the type of tools used and the context of expeditions for harvesting resources and conservation implications.