Wildlife survey: Sukhna wildlife sanctuary’s habitat becomes richer
The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary has become richer and more diverse than before, according to the wildlife survey carried out by the UT forest and wildlife department in May 2021.
As per the survey report, which has been made available now, a jungle cat and a barking deer have been spotted in the city for the first time.
“The animals’ presence was confirmed by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, which indicates a richer habitat of the protected area,” said Debendra Dalai, chief conservator of forests-cum-chief wildlife warden, Chandigarh.
“The species are native to the region, but were not identified in the previous survey in 2010. Both species are likely to have migrated to the sanctuary from adjoining areas,” Dalai added. The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over 2,600 hectares in Chandigarh.
Sambar density similar to Rajaji Tiger Reserve
The report also found that the sambar is the most abundant ungulate species in the sanctuary, with population density similar to the Rajaji Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand. The estimated population of sambars in the sanctuary stands between 290 and 763.
Dalai said, “Outside the sanctuary also, there are an estimated 250 to 300 sambars in the city. Their high density is facilitated by the lack of carnivores.”
Other species of animals spotted during the survey include leopard, golden jackal, Indian grey mongoose and chital. The surveys conducted for mega herbivores and some bird species confirmed the presence of 16 species, of which 13 are mammalian, including carnivores and herbivores. The major bird species of conservation importance included the Indian peafowl and the red junglefowl.
A total of 67 species of birds were identified in this survey compared to 63 in 2010. In 2010, nine mammalian species were identified compared to 13 now.
WII has recommended that a detailed study on habitat characterisation and vegetation community structure be undertaken to understand wildlife-habitat relationships in the sanctuary. Apart from the wild species, presence of feral cattle and free ranging stray dogs was also confirmed.
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