Did you know the Indian grey mongoose is the State Animal of Chandigarh? Now, it’s also the mascot of the Yoga Festival to be held here from June 9 to 12. This comes ahead of the International Yoga Day celebrations to be held at Capitol Complex on June 21, to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The mascot’s name: Yogi.
Why was it picked? Deputy commissioner Ajit Balaji Joshi replied, “Because the State Animal is generally selected as the mascot for such events.” UT administrator Kaptan Singh Solanki unveiled the mascot at Punjab Raj Bhawan here on Tuesday.
Why is mongoose the State Animal? UT director, environment, Santosh Kumar said, “Mongoose was chosen as large number of these are found in the city, particularly in the northern sectors and the forest area. Mongoose maintains ecological balance by preying on snakes that are also abundant in the forests in and around Chandigarh.”
Formal announcement of the State Animal was made in 2010 by the UT forest and wildlife department during Wildlife Week celebrations. Since then, other than releasing a postal stamp, the administration has announced it would distribute T-shirts imprinted with the animal’s image to popularise the mongoose, which faces poaching as its tail hair is used to make paintbrushes.
The State Animal: Know nevla!
*The Indian grey mongoose, also known as the common grey mongoose (nevla, in Hindi and other Indian languages), is a species mainly found in South Asia. Its habitat is open forests, scrublands and even cultivated fields, often close to human habitation. It lives in burrows among groves of trees, shelters under rocks or bushes, and even in drains when close to human civilisation.
*A carnivore, it is considered a bold animal, found alone or in pairs, and preys most visibly on snakes, and also on rodents, birds’ eggs and hatchlings, besides lizards and also fruits.
*It is a target of poachers as its tail hair is used to make paintbrushes. It has body length of 14-18 inches, and a tail length of approximately 14 inches. They weight hardly 2kg.
*It reproduced frequently, up to three litters per year. After a gestation period of 60-65 days, it can produce a litter of 2-4 offspring