A survey by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, has a piece of good news for animal lovers. The survey report shows a significant surge in the population of leopards and other animals in the Aravallis.
The population of leopards, in particular, has risen four-fold as per the survey. The last survey of wildlife in the Aravallis was conducted in 2012.
According to officials of the institute, the significant rise in leopard population is at the heart of a spike in incidents of man-animal conflict in the Gurgaon stretch of the Aravalli region, especially Sohna.
The areas where leopards were frequently sighted during the survey include Gamroj (Bhondsi), Raipur (Raisina), Mangar, Gothda, Badhkal, Kotla Kansali, Nimatpur (Nayaan), Khol and Panchota.
The survey of 51 sites in the Aravallis showed a surge in the numbers of 10 mammalian species including Leopard, Striped Hyena, Golden Jackal, Grey Wolf, Indian Fox, Jungle Cat, Grey Mongoose, Small Indian Civet, Indian Crested Porcupine, Indian Hare, Wild Pig, Rhesus Macaque, Blue-bull (Nilgai) and Indian Gazelle (Chinkara).
The WII officials observed that even as there has been an increase in the population of wildlife in the region, there is still a lot of ground to be made on the issue of conserving the species and their habitat.
The survey report said that vehicles speeding in the forest areas often prove to be the bane for the wildlife as scores of animals are crushed under their wheels every year. The Gurgaon-Faridabad Expressway is one such road meandering through the Aravalli region which has reported a surge in incidents of animals getting run over. Public tolerance for wildlife is also on the wane as is evidenced by the animals, especially leopards, lynched by the public when they stray into civilian areas.
On November 24, a two-and-half-year-old male leopard was beaten to death by villagers of Mandawar after it strayed into the village in Sohna, 40 km from Gurgaon.
Such incidents have evoked concern and wildlife experts have called for urgent efforts to conserve the shrinking habitat straddling five Aravalli districts — Gurgaon, Faridabad, Mahendragarh, Mewat and Rewari.
“We have recommended that all the priority areas identified in the report be considered for long-term conservation and management. There is a need to conduct intensive camera trapping study and identify road crossing zones for key wildlife species,” said Bilal Habib, project head, WII.
The project investigators were Bilal Habib and Gautam Talukdar of WII. The result of the study has been submitted to Haryana Wildlife and Forest Department.
“The data is crucial as it sheds light on how these species have adapted to different types of landscapes and what should be the road map for their long-term conservation. The report will also help curb public lynching of stray leopards in the region,” Shyam Sunder Kaushik, divisional forest officer, wildlife, said. (Hindustan Times)
Species recorded in 2012 2016
Leopard 08 31
Jackal 129 166
Porcupine 05 91
Mongoose 02 50
Jungle cat 46 26
Fox 02 04
Hyenas 17 126
Rhesus Macaque 02