Here's a piece of grim news for animal lovers from the city. The 2011 wildlife census conducted last month by officials of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), Borivli, has recorded a decline in the number of animals at the park and in the adjoining Tungares-hwar Wildlife Sanctuary.
As per the census, there are 26 leopards in the two green belts as compared to 28 in 2009. The data for the 2010 census is yet to be released by the Wildlife Institute of India. The population of the barking deer has also fallen from 32 in 2009 to 16.
The most significant drop has been in the number of monkeys in the Tungareshwar sanctuary. There are only 37 monkeys now as compared to 128 in 2009. Similarly, the langur population has halved — from 90 in 2009 to 41 this year at the sanctuary.
“Several people flock to the six religious structures inside the sanctuary. So, one cannot rule out poaching. The SGNP is better protected,” said Krishna Tiwari, city forest head, Bombay Natural History Society.
SGNP officials conducted the census between May 15 and May 17 using the old method of sightings at water holes and pugmark spotting. “The sightings could have been less owing to human disturbance and lack of water,” said Sunil Limaye, director and conservator, SGNP.