The forest department will install five new camera traps in Manger, Ghata, Wazirabad and Bandhwari areas, according to officials.
Over the weekend, a camera installed in the Mangar-Bandhwari area captured clear footage of a full-grown leopard, indicating that the forested areas in the region can still serve as a wildlife habitat for Delhi-NCR.
At present, there are two camera traps in the five-six acre area to monitor movement of wild animals. The area, which is also close to Asola Bhatti sanctuary, provides adequate food and space for the survival of leopards.
“We will assess the presence of major wildlife species in the Aravallis, especially leopards and other predators. The area has good vegetation, which provides ample space for animals to hide and hunt,” said MD Sinha, conservator of forests, south Haryana.
Environment activists said that such leopard sightings rule out any doubts about the presence of wildlife in the area. “Sightings of wild animals in Aravallis are high. However, there are no protection measures by the state government in place to provide a safe haven to the animals,” said Amit Chaudhary, environmental activist.
“This area is under threat as it is close to the Bandhwari waste treatment plant and the district administration is seeking more land for its landfill,” said Vivek Kamboj, another activist.
Environmental activists have also suggested that corporates should join hands with the forest department to help conserve the area, under corporate social responsibility.
In January, the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, started a survey in Mangar-Bandhwari, along with Sultanpur, Damdama, Badhkal and some areas of Mewat. The findings of the survey, which aims to map the wildlife in Aravallis besides ascertaining the land use and land cover of the mountain range, will be out this month. The last wildlife survey in Haryana was conducted in 2012.
In recent years, there have been frequent reports of leopard deaths in the area, leading the Haryana government to evaluate the presence of prey species.
The WII’s report will be used to address the problem of man-animal conflict. Sinha said the survey will help gather an estimate of the population of carnivore species and their potential preys. The numbers will help protect the two major ecosystems of the Aravallis and Shivaliks, he added.