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Gurgaon: Leopard watch tops plan to check wildlife straying

The four-year study by the wildlife department will be conducted with the help of Wildlife Institute of India (WII)

gurgaon Updated: Oct 12, 2017 22:29 IST
Ipsita Pati
Panic set in among locals after a leopard was spotted outside the Maruti plant in Manesar on October 8.
Panic set in among locals after a leopard was spotted outside the Maruti plant in Manesar on October 8.(Parveen Kumar/HT PHOTO)

The wildlife department has prepared a long term plan to keep a tab on leopards and other wild animals with a view to keep man-animal conflict to a minimum.

Once approved, the project will be implemented over four years with an aim to monitor leopards and sympatric mammalian species of Aravallis in Haryana using telemetry and camera traps. The department is considering delineating the leopard corridor from Managar Bani to Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary.

“We have received a four-year study proposal from the wildlife department which will be conducted with the help of Wildlife Institute of India (WII). After the preliminary study conducted by the WII at 51 sites, a detailed study is required,” Gulshan Ahuja, chief conservator of forests (wildlife) and chief wildlife warden of Haryana, said.

The study is proposed for a time period of four years and will require cash infusion worth over ₹1.5 crore. Although this proposal was sent to the Haryana government last month, the wildlife department took up the project in earnest after successfully rescuing an eight-year-old leopard from Maruti Suzuki plant in Manesar.

This four-year project will be headed by Bilal Habib, scientist, WII, Parag Nigam, scientist, WII, Gautam Talukdar, scientist, WII and Vinod Kumar, conservator of forest (wildlife), South Haryana.

There is a need to understand the reason why wild animals are moving out of their habitat. “We assume that leopards move out of the protected areas because of habitat fragmentation, prey base depletion, easy availability of livestock and increase in the density of leopards in some protected areas,” Habib said.

Read I Quick action by officials of Gurgaon wildlife dept saved the leopard

A report by the WII in June revealed that the leopard population have increased in the last five years in south Haryana.

The proposal stated that there is a need for a careful analysis of man-animal conflict in the area, as throughout India during last five years, there has been a noticeable trend of large scale poaching of leopard throughout India and the survival of leopard is in question because of illegal poaching for its skin and bones.

“The detailed study on leopard movement will also help spread awareness about wildlife in the region and also help map out a conservation plan,” Kumar said.

The main objectives of the proposal are;

Estimating density, abundance and distribution of large carnivores across the landscape

Estimation of prey density across the landscape and developing a relationship between the density of prey base and leopard abundance

Studying variation of food habits across the landscape

Studying movement pattern, home range size of leopard and hyena

Evaluating activity and landscape use pattern by other sympatric mammalian species in the landscape

Delineation of leopard corridor from Mangar Bani to Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary