The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is conducting a survey that will map the presence of carnivorous species in the Aravallis besides ascertaining the land use and land cover in the region. After mapping the area, the government plans to devise a new proposal to protect the wildlife and vegetation in the Aravallis.
The WII team conducting the survey comprises project biologists Anchal Bhasin and Paridhi Jain and is currently exploring five districts in the state. The forest department is also providing assistance to the team to successfully complete the survey. The proposal for the survey was submitted in November 2014 while the survey began last month.
In 2011, the Haryana forest department had carried out a detailed census to ascertain the presence of wildlife in the Aravallis. It was revealed that the Aravallis was home to at least 8 leopards, 129 jackals and 46 jungle cats among other animals.
The latest mapping exercise is a follow-up to this census. It will not just help the authorities take steps to protect the wildlife and reduce incidents of man-animal conflict in the region but will also help them ensure that the animal habitat is not encroached upon
The team has covered an area of 30 km around Damdama Lake, Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary and parts of Mewat in the last 20 days. “We found ample evidence of wildlife, particularly around Damdama Lake, including a 2.5-km-long trail of leopard pugmarks. We have also found hyena pugmarks and some unidentified pugmarks that could be of the Indian fox, which is rare in this region. We have also found mongoose, jackal and neelgai in the area,” said Anchal Bhasin. According to the team, they are using the trail method as animals usually take a specific path.
The team members said the area has a rich wildlife presence, especially prey species and mapping will help identify and conserve these important habitats. In recent years, there have been frequent reports of leopard deaths in the region, which has further propelled the Haryana government to evaluate the presence of prey species in different areas so that they can be protected.
“The team will survey Gurgaon, Mewat, Faridabad, Rewari and Mahendragarh,” Bhasin said. Apart from prey species, the WII team is also keeping a record of the vegetation of the area.
Biologists are recording the tree and shrub cover and the different kinds of plants in the area so that they can be protected from encroachers.