32% drop in animals spotted at SGNP, Tungareshwar in Maha during waterhole census
Lower figures may be because forests have more watering holes due to longer monsoon, says forest officerUpdated: May 04, 2018 16:26 IST
A 32% decline has been recorded in the number of animals spotted during this year’s waterhole census at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) and Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, conducted between Monday night and Tuesday morning.
- Leopard: 10
- Sambar deer: 27
- Spotted deer: 295
- Monkey (rhesus macaque): 111
- Langur: 97
- Bats: 60
- Wild boar: 14
- Mongoose: 18
A total of 671 animals were spotted by around 100 volunteers and forest department staff across an area of 190 sqkm, compared to last year’s 995 animals.
“This is not a scientific study that gives authentic data but an exercise where citizens interact closely with nature, and get to understand the importance of conservation,” said Anwar Ahmed, director and chief conservator of forest, SGNP.
Forest officers said more leopards were seen this year, 10 compared to six in 2016 and none in 2017. However, fewer spotted deer were seen this time, 295 to last year’s 392. The number of rhesus macaque monkeys observed was 111, while langurs stood at 97. The number of sambar deer was 27.
The census is conducted annually on Buddha Poornima, a full moon day when it is easier to spot animals at night. Forest officials and volunteers keep vigil at waterholes across SGNP, at its Tulsi, Krishnagiri and Yeoor ranges, and Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary and Yeoor range of SGNP, and count the animals they spot
“Spotting more leopards this year as compared to the previous census is an indicator that it is a good habitat for the big cat. Spotting six wild cats is also a good sign. However, as the monsoon extended till October last year and there was rainfall even in December, there are many more waterholes in the forests that have not been monitored apart from the 49 we check, so that may explain the drop in number of animals spotted. They are probably more dispersed as there are more waterholes,” said Ahmed.