Wolves ‘returning’ to Chambal; first sighting in two decades - Hindustan Times
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Wolves ‘returning’ to Chambal; first sighting in two decades

By, Kanpur
Jan 28, 2024 10:34 PM IST

The last wolf sightings were reported during Operation Bhediya carried out between 1997 and 2000 to map the canines’ footprint in Chambal.

Wildlife enthusiasts and experts are abuzz with excitement after the recent sighting of an endangered Indian grey wolf in the expansive confines of National Chambal Sanctuary in Etawah.

Kartik Dwivedi, an official with Etawah Lion Safari, took this picture of a grey wolf on January 15 on his way to the interpretation centre in the Baah range. (Sourced)
Kartik Dwivedi, an official with Etawah Lion Safari, took this picture of a grey wolf on January 15 on his way to the interpretation centre in the Baah range. (Sourced)

This was the first confirmed sighting of a wolf in the region in two decades—the last sightings were reported during Operation Bhediya carried out between 1997 and 2000 to map the canines’ footprint in Chambal.

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According to wildlife experts, the sighting of an Indian wolf holds significant implications for the ecological balance in the Chambal region. The sanctuary is already renowned for being a haven for critically endangered ghariyals, red-crowned roof turtles and the elusive Ganga River dolphins.

Kartik Dwivedi, an education officer with the Etawah Lion Safari, took the picture of the grey wolf on January 15 on his way to the interpretation centre in the Baah range. “I thought it was a jackal but an animal breeder, Ranjit Kamar, accompanying me said it was a wolf.”

This made him send the pictures to many wildlife experts, including the ones associated with Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun. “They all have responded in affirmation that it was indeed an Indian grey wolf,” said Dwivedi, who played a crucial role in the rehabilitation of 13 leopards in Bijnor.

Divakar Srivastava, who retired as the divisional forest officer in Chambal, said Indian wolves were seen during Operation Bhediya launched in the late 90s, a first serious attempt to map their presence number-wise. “It was then that wolves were seen but after that they seemed to have disappeared,” he added.

“I have spent some time here in Chambal but there hasn’t been any information or signs of wolves in decades. Everyone is excited after this sighting,” he said.

Rajeev Chauhan, who works with WII in Chambal, corroborated Srivastava’s observations and said the last sighting was in the early 2000s, and a return of wolves to Chambal was exciting and that their conservation works should begin immediately.

“Forests are fast depleting so are wolves. There have been reports of wolf sightings in East UP in the recent past but not in Chambal where they used to be good in numbers,” he said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Haidar Naqvi covers central UP and Bundelkhand. He closely tracks developments in internal security in the region and beyond.

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