Plant diversity of Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary and fodder species grazed by the Blackbuck Antilope cervicapra L.
A rapid but intense survey was conducted using visual landmarks in the Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary to enumerate the flora and foraging habits of the Blackbuck Antelope cervicapra. The area was divided into various segments such as the sanctuary entrance, Maattu muni kovil, Savukku plot or Casuarina plantation, S-Bend road and the old light house for precise enumeration. A total of 111 plant species that include 50 herbs, 16 climbers/lianas, 30 shrubs and sub-shrubs, and 15 trees belonging to 39 plant families were recorded in this study. Visual observations showed that Blackbucks grazed on grasses such as the Mangrove Grass Aeluropus lagopoides (L.) Thwaites, Dog's Tooth Grass Cynodon barberi Rang. & Tadul., Indian Durva Grass Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers., Feather Finger Grass Chloris virgata Sw., and a sedge, the pointed fimbristylis Fimbristylis acuminata Vahl during the day time. They were also observed browsing on the leaves and pods of Algaroba Prosopis juliflora (Sw.) DC. in the evenings. Our observation on the presence of feral horses and stray cattle in the Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary shows that they compete for food and water with the Blackbuck. The spread of invasive alien plant species competes with and reduces the space for native species.