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State’s first chinkara twins boost conservation hopes

Wildlife officials termed the birth of the chinkara twins ‘rarest of rare’

gurgaon Updated: Apr 15, 2018 23:32 IST
Leena Dhankhar
Leena Dhankhar
Hindustan Times
Parvati, one of the female chinkaras at the breeding centre, gave birth to the twins around 5.30am on Wednesday. The twins weigh 750 grams and 800 grams respectively. Wednesday marked the fourth time that Parvati welcomed newborns.(Leena Dhankhar/HT PHOTO)

It is celebration time at the chinkara (Indian gazelle) breeding centre at Jhabua village, as it has welcomed twin female fawns into its brood. The newborns have served as a timely boost to the wildlife population of the state.

Wildlife officials termed the births rarest of rare and said that the newborns are the first chinkara twins of the state. Jhabua village is situated 100km from Delhi and 70km from Gurugram, towards Jaipur.

“This is rarest of rare case and first of its kind in Haryana where a chinkara has delivered twins. Parvati has created history,” Dr. Ashok Khasa, veterinary surgeon, wildlife, said.

Parvati, one of the female chinkaras at the breeding centre, gave birth to the twins around 5.30am on Wednesday. The twins weigh 750 grams and 800 grams respectively. Wednesday marked the fourth time that Parvati welcomed newborns.

Parvati became pregnant after mating with a chinkara named Shiv in October last year. After the successful delivery of a fawn by Maya, another female chinkara, in 2013, the centre decided to arrange a mate for Parvati.

Officials at the centre said that a female chinkara reaches sexual maturity at between two-and-a-half and three years of age and the reproduction period lasts 15 years.

On Thursday, the twins were spotted sitting near the tree, enjoying the sunshine. They were feeling cold as the surface was wet after the showers that lashed the area on the day they were born. They could barely walk and slept for most of the day. Officials said that their mother has been doting on them since they were born and feeds them from time to time.

They said Parvati was born at the Jhabua centre in April 2012 and is loved by all. She is sprightly and is mostly spotted prancing around, the officials said. They said she is friendly in nature and attracts visitors by the dozens and even poses of pictures with them.

Read I Aravallis to get blackbuck, chinkara sanctuaries soon

“Parvati is expressive and never shies away from showing her emotions. Whenever she spots a visitor clicking pictures, she tries to get close to him/her and pose for snaps. She is also good at sensing emotions in others and the ambience around her,” Khasa said.

The breeding centre, which was opened by the Haryana forest department in 2011, has welcomed three fawns this year. The centre is dedicated to the conservation of chinkaras, a rare and endangered species.

Though considered as the state animal of Rajasthan, chinkaras are rarely found in Rajasthan. However, with the opening of the two breeding centres in Bhiwani and Jhabua, their numbers in the state have grown over the years.

On February 17, superstar Salman Khan was sentenced to a year prison for killing a chinkara. However, the actor was acquitted by the Rajasthan high court in July that year.

Officials said barely 15 days after delivering a fawn in October last year, she became pregnant with the twins. At present, the centre houses 28 chinkaras — 2 males, 19 females and 7 young ones. Seven of them were born in 2017, the officials said.

She has been kept in a separate enclosure along with her newborns, as she would have to feed them in the next two months. Parvati is mostly seen playing with her twins and running around with them, the officials said.

“These chinkaras under Schedule-1 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. There was a time when there were a number of them in the Aravallis, but their population has declined alarmingly since then due to increased infrastructure development and biotic interference,” Vinod Kumar, chief conservator of forest, wildlife, Gurugram, said.

“This breeding centre will also help boost the wildlife population in the state and the exchange programme. Every time we seek animals from other states, we can offer them chinkaras in exchange,” Kumar said.

According to wildlife officials, some of the reasons why the chinkaras are considered an endangered species are the changed cropping pattern, conversion of sandy hills into the plain cultivated land, excessive use of chemical spray on crops and sowing of chemically treated seeds.

Chinkaras are now seen fewer in numbers in the state and if the pattern of decline in population continues, they could be on the cusp of extinction.

The Jhabua centre is spread across 80 acres of land inside a reserve forest. It is fenced with a 10-foot high link chain and has CCTV cameras for surveillance.

“This breeding centre has proved to be a success. The objective behind opening this facility was to arrest the slide in chinkara population across the state, and, in the coming years, Haryana will go from a state with dwindling numbers of chinkara to one with the highest. I was concerned over the shrinkage of wildlife habitat in the state and exhorted residents to come forward with ideas to save endangered species,” Rao Narbir Singh, state minister for forest and wildlife, said.

“We have been successful in saving our wildlife, especially those considered endangered species. Incidents of man-animal conflict has also come down by a significant extent. The breeding centre is fenced off and the chinkaras are safe. Measures have been adopted to keep poachers at bay. Villagers themselves are very protective of this species and also keep an eye out for suspicious activities, if any,” Singh said.

The forest department is also planning to throw the centre open to educational institutes. At present, only students from schools and colleges in Rewari visit the facility, but soon, it will attract students and researchers from across Delhi-NCR and other states.

First Published: Apr 15, 2018 23:32 IST