The divisional forest office at Ghaziabad has come out with a wildlife census in two forest ranges in the Ghaziabad district. According to the survey, there has been a major increase in the number of monkeys sighted in the urban range of Ghaziabad in comparison to the rural range of Modi Nagar.
The wildlife survey was conducted from May 9 to May 25 by several teams of the forest department in the Modi Nagar and Ghaziabad ranges of the district. The census reports 1,683 sightings of monkeys (Macaca speciosa) in Modi Nagar and 3,658 in the Ghaziabad range, which is primarily urban. A total of nearly 5,341 monkeys were sighted in the district during the survey.
“Monkeys have moved to urban areas as they easily find food there. During the past years, there have been plantations of species like Keekar and Kanji that simians can’t eat. So they try to move in order to find food,” said Ruchin Mehra, an animal activist.
Officials also recorded 2,128 sightings of neelgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) and 13 of barasingha (Cervus duvauceli). The latter was last sighted during the 2003 survey when their count stood at 20.
While common wild animals were sighted in the survey, there was no sighting of fishing cat (Felis viverrina) or leopard (Panthera pardus). In December 2014 and January 2015, there were several instances at Loni and Murad Nagar where dead leopards were found while villagers had also reported seeing some live ones. A leopard had also injured several persons at Hapur.
“Leopards and fishing cats move long distances amid fields and tree cover and don’t remain at one location for too long. Hence, they could not be sighted. However, some incidents in the past had revealed their presence,” said BP Singh, divisional forest officer, Ghaziabad.
“The sighting count is done simultaneously in different ranges and at a single time. The count is generally done as per physical sighting or information by local residents. It is possible that some animal species could have been missed,” Singh added.