|Most recent IBA monitoring assessment|
|Year of assessment||Threat score (pressure)||Condition score (state)||Action score (response)|
|2003||medium||not assessed||not assessed|
|For more information about IBA monitoring please click here|
The Rani Jhansi Marine National Park lies within Ritchie’s Archipelago, 14 km northeast of South Andaman Islands and southeast of Middle Andaman Island. This archipelago includes the islands of North, Middle, and South Button, Outram, Henry Lawrence, Inglis, John Lawrence, Wilson, Nicholson, Peel, Havelock, Neill, and the southernmost, Sir Huge Rose (notified as a Sanctuary in 1987). Of these islands, Outram (1900 ha), Henry Lawrence (6563 ha) and John Lawrence (4200 ha) form the Rani Jhansi Marine National Park. This Park has a total area of 25,614 ha, of which 12,770 ha comprises land and the rest is a marine ecosystem surrounding these three islands (Andrews 2000). The natural habitats of the park include lagoons, coral reefs, beaches, lowland evergreen rain forest, semi-evergreen rain forest and mangrove forests. Like all other IBA sites, this site also has humid, tropical coastal climate, due to its proximity to the equator and the sea. Rainfall is very heavy, up to 3,800 mm annual average, thanks to the southwest and northeast monsoons. There are only four comparatively dry months, January to April. This site still has some intact tropical evergreen and semievergreen forests, mangrove forests and extensive coastal lagoons. The Park was established to protect the marine life, especially corals, fish and turtles. Full biodiversity inventory of this Park has not been done.
AVIFAUNA: Detailed studies on the avifauna have not been conducted till now, but based on preliminary work, Das (1998) and Deb (1998), a checklist of 58 birds is available. However, this list is not very reliable and we need proper study on the birds of this IBA. Nevertheless, of the 12 extant Restricted Range species of Andaman Islands (Stattersfield et al. 1998), 11 have been reported. The twelfth species, namely Narcondam Hornbill Aceros narcondami, is only found on Narcondam Island, and nowhere else in the world. The presence of 11 Restricted Range species in this IBA proves its conservation value. There are also many endemic subspecies for which the Andaman Islands are famous among ornithologists. The Andaman Teal Anas albogularis, earlier considered as an endemic subspecies of the Grey Teal A. gibberifrons, is now listed as full species by Rasmussen and Anderton (in press). With an estimated population between 500 to 600 (Vijayan and Sankaran 2000), it could be one of the rarest birds of India. In Ritchie’s Archipelago, it was observed on three locations: Outram Island in the south creek, Kawangtung Strait between Henry Lawrence and John Lawrence, and Havelock No. 5 (Andrews 2000). More than 100 Andaman Teal were reported on John Lawrence Island during the wet season in a freshwater stream on the northeastern side of this island, where the sea enters the stream during spring tides (Vijayan and Sankaran 1997). This could be the largest flock of this extremely rare bird. However, according to R. Sankaran (pers. comm.), the population of this rare species is underestimated and secondly, during the non-breeding season, the Teal congregate, so sighting more than 100 birds could be incidental.
OTHER KEY FAUNA: The Park is considered rich in faunal diversity. Forty-five reptiles, 12 amphibians and 21 mammals species are reported from the Park (Das 1998, quoted in Andrews and Sankaran 2002). Some of the endemic species of reptiles are Daniel’s Forest Lizard Bronchocela danieli (Endangered) and Andaman Island Grass Skink Mabuya andamanensis (Vulnerable) (Anon. 2001). Andaman Water Monitor, Varanus salvator andamanensis is quite common in creeks and forest. Four species of sea turtles are found, namely the Olive Ridley Lepidochelys olivacea, Green Turtle Chelonia mydas, Hawksbill Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata and Leatherback Turtle Dermochelys coriacea.
Over 80 species of corals are reported from just one part of the Park. The coral reef fauna is extremely rich. Mustafa et al. (1987) have described the coral reefs and coral fish and the damage due to siltation, improper fishing methods and logging activities.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Rani Jhansi Marine National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/10/2019.