The Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) isn’t just a grooming ground for engineers, it’s also home to rich flora and fauna. The 566 acres of the Powai campus act as the city’s lungs and a carbon sink, but campus expansion has forced the institute authorities to trim the green cover a bit.

This has also taken its toll on the fauna in the campus. G C De, a retired faculty from the electrical engineering department, who was responsible for greening the campus, said he had earlier spotted close to 200 birds, which matched with the observations of Salim Ali and Humayun Abdulali in their book, Birds of Bombay and Salsette. But, in a recent survey—Study of Biodiversity of IIT Bombay Campus by Goldin Quadros—the World Wide Fund for Nature noted that merely 100 bird species were spotted.

The study was conducted from September 2008 to February 2009 and its findings were released recently. “The campus being adjacent to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, several mega fauna could be spotted there. But with the fragmentation of habitat, their visits have become sporadic. The campus can still support a lot of biodiversity, but implementing conservation measures is the immediate need,’’ the study noted. The IIT-B authorities were prompt to set up the Green Campus Initiative Committee to ensure that the college stayed green.

“The campus is a lot greener now than it was in the 1970s. Whenever permission is taken to cut a tree for new construction, the committee proposes to plant at least 10 trees around that building.’’

The study states that the IIT-B has a total of 84,344 species, of which 44% is flora and the rest is fauna.

Source: Times of India