• A species of wood snake that wasn’t seen for 140 years (last seen in 1878) has resurfaced in a survey conducted by scientists in the Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary.
• Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Meghamalai Wildlife Division spreads over 636 square kilometers in Theni district of Tamil Nadu bordering the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala and thus an important buffer zone for tiger population in addition to an important elephant corridor.
• The species is endemic to the Meghamalai forests (Tamil Nadu) and the Periyar Tiger Reserve landscape (Kerala).
• The local population of wood snakes was last spotted and recorded by British military officer and naturalist Colonel Richard Henry Beddome in 1878, who went on to describe it as a new species, Xylophis indicus.
Mains Paper 3: Environment
Prelims level: Wood snake
Mains level: Endangered species