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Man-made forest in Kerala turns home for rare purple frog

Representational image. The man-made forest in Kerala boasts of a rare and endangered purple frog (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@insectbrah)

Inspired and dictated by his love for the environment and concerned with its degradation, K. Bulbendran has created a man-made forest at Ayiramacre village located in Kerala’s Idukki district. It boasts of so many species of frogs that students and researchers visit it to study them.

The forest has come about after several years of hard work by Bulbendran who used to work in Kerala State Road Transport Corporation. On inheriting three acres of ancestral land, he decided to convert it into a natural habitat for frogs to protect them.

Christened as Neelagiri Green Biovalley Botanical Garden, this forest today boasts of 29 varieties of frogs, including the green frog, toad skinned frog and the endangered purple frog which emerges from underground only once a year.

It is not just frogs that are plentiful in the botanical garden as there are many snakes too, who prey on these amphibians.

On inheriting the land 28 years ago, Bulbendran started planting seeds and sapling there. He was inspired to do so when he became aware that many wetlands were being destroyed across the country due to human-activity and development. He fondly remembers how common frogs and their croaking was during his childhood but then later this became rare.

Thanks to his stupendous efforts his garden today has more than 600 species of trees and plants. It has eight ponds that help the frogs to breed in hundreds and lots of green cover as these creatures need cool and wet surroundings and get afflicted by fungal disease in hot conditions.

This wildlife activist took voluntary retirement from KSRTC in 2015 to work fulltime on his passion. He is a snake rescuer who has received various awards, including Vanamithra, Paristhithimithra and Wildlife Conflict Mitigation Award-2022.