Nature and Wildlife
October to February is the best season to watch migratory birds nesting in Pondicherry. Ample tree cover, availability of vegetation and insects for food makes the Auroville and Pondicherry University belt ideal nesting grounds for a host of species.
The Ousteri Wildlife Sanctuary is Pondicherry’s most significant wildlife haven. Over 160 species of birds, both aquatic and terrestrial, have been observed in the area, including the Darter, the Black-headed Ibis, the Spot-billed Pelican, the Eurasian Spoon Bill and the Painted Stork.
Over 60 species of butterflies have been spotted in the Sanctuary, including endemic species such as the Common-banded Peacock and the Crimson Rose. Various species of frogs, turtles, lizards, snakes and mammals are also found here, while at least 25 species of fish have been recorded in the lake’s waters.
The seasonal Bahour Lake, a freshwater wetland, is also an important area for birds.
A variety of corals, fishes and crustaceans are just a few of the marine species found in the coastal waters of Pondicherry. Olive Ridley turtles, a Schedule I species, have nesting spots in several places along the coast, including the Karaikal region.
The Directorate of Forests and Wildlife runs artificial hatcheries to protect vulnerable eggs. In 2013, they were able to successfully release 500 hatchlings into the sea.