The distant archipelago of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is known for their exotic characteristics in whatever you find across. Whether that is the white sandy beaches, dense mangrove forests or turquoise blue ocean, everything of Andaman stands out from those which can be found in the Indian mainland. Even the diverse flora and fauna are endemic to the islands of Andaman. You may have to travel up to the islets in their natural habitat to behold at the real beauty of its wildlife. Furthermore, they can be easily visible to any vigilant and nature-loving traveler, as around more than 80% of the land portion is covered with dense jungle.
Here we are going to take a close tour around the State Symbols of Andaman by providing a rough idea of these charming endemic species.
State Animal: Dugong or Sea Cow
Dugong is considered as the state animal of Andaman that is otherwise known as Sea Cows or Sea Pigs. These herbivorous marine mammals of Andaman are only one of its kinds. These harmless mammals live on the shallow waters of the Andaman Coastal Belt, or more precisely along Landfall Islands, Mayabunder, Rutland Islands, Jollybuoy and along the Dugong Creek of Little Andaman. Furthermore, they are dependent on the seagrasses that grow in large expanse under the shallow sea waters of Andaman. On your next tour to the islands, you may watch them coming up to the surface for breathing in every 11 minutes.
A fully grown Dugong can be measured up to a length of 3 meters and weighing around 300 kg. However, the populations of Dugongs were fast diminishing during the last five years. Thanks to the illegal fishing of the heavy mammal all across the seas of Andaman for the purpose of meat and oil. After further processing, they are exported to the mainland in various packages. Moreover, the reproduction of these calm marine mammals is very slow, as they give birth only to 3 or 4 baby dugongs.
State Bird: Andaman Wood Pigeon
The state bird of the Andaman Islands is Andaman Wood Pigeon. Again these adorable birds are endemic to the region. Wood Pigeons are different from the normal ones that you see in your locality for its contrasting shades of light blue and graphite grey. Besides, the hues of eyes and the skin color underneath are very striking to any bird watcher. Even the long tails of these pigeons with a total length of 35 to 40 cm make them unique. Strangely shaded beak and feet in reddish-pink provide them with an ethereal visual appeal.
However, if you compare the shape and size of the Wood Pigeons, they are almost the same. This small variation can be heard in their distinct voices too. Great Nicobar, Katchal, Trinkat, Little Nicobar, Camorta, Car Nicobar, Nancowry and Tillangchong are the habitats in Andaman and Nicobar Islands were these pigeons are found. They would love to live in the dense evergreen and tropical rainforests. So you may find it difficult to spot them in busy human hamlets.
State Tree: Andaman Padauk
The tall trees of Padauk all along the tropical rainforest of Andaman are deemed as its state tree. It grows up to a height of 130 feet on an average with its crown-like branches right up the top. Most of the trees and its strong roots had withstood the catastrophic Tsunami of last decade unlike the Marina Beach of Chennai. When you are dropping into some of the beaches in your tour like Wandoor in Port Blair, you may still find the uprooted Padauk trees. They are endemic to the Islands in Andaman.
Apart from all these physical features of the exotic tree, the leaves and barks collected from the Padauk tree are used for various medicinal purposes. These are collected in packages and later sent for manufacturing requirements. Logs of these tall trees are also cut down for making furniture and musical instruments, as they are believed to be resistant to the bites of termites and the likes. Moreover, during the earlier days, they were called Vermillion that is reddish-orange. However, with the diminishing numbers of Padauk in the Islands, they are not much encouraged to cut down presently.
State Flower: Andaman Pyinma
Although added very last to the list of State symbols in 2014 September, the Andman Pyinma had been blooming as an endemic species of the Islands. They are otherwise known as Pabda, Crepe Myrtle, or Jarul and belong to the family of Lythraceae. The state flower of Andaman is predominantly in lilac or light purple colour. Moreover, they really bloom in large numbers in either pyramidal or cylindrical panicles. Once they are bloomed, they would stay for some time without being withered. If you get to pluck its dark brown coloured fruits, you would feel that they are rather woody.
Actually, they are the florets of the tall Pema tree as they are very familiar with the locals. When visiting the islets, you may easily identify them from their distinct thinner whitish barks. Furthermore, if that holidaying is in any months between July and September, you could behold the large bunch of Pynima flower in its full glow.
Besides being the habitat of the state symbols, the group of Islands is home to a diverse populace of Blue-eared kingfisher, sea turtles, scop’s owl, feral elephants, saltwater crocodiles, fulvous breasted woodpecker, wild boars, Narcondam Hornbill, and many more. You may witness these endemic species in their natural habitat once dropping into the Andaman Islands. Henceforth, without the emergence of any hesitation, you may contact Andaman Tour Travel. As in the absence of such as external aid, you would be having a tough time in making arrangements for your journey considering its remoteness. They have the best tour packages that would engage you with enough bird watching and wild safaris. So without wasting much time, pack your bags and fulfil your dream of vacationing in an exotic place like Andaman.