Scientists conduct study on habitat of Indian grey wolf
Kolkata: A team of scientists from Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have categorically demonstrated the importance and maintenance of probable suitable areas for Indian grey wolf (Canis lupus pallipes) along with its landscape connectivity between Chotta Nagpur Plateau and Lower Gangetic Planes. The study titled "Identifying suitable habitat and corridor for Indian Grey Wolf in Chotta Nagpur Plateau and Lower Gangetic Planes" that has recently been published in the reputed journal PlosOne assumes significance as wolves are suffering from loss of habitat and loss of connectivity in the landscape.
Indian Grey Wolf is known to be distributed in the vast areas of the Indian subcontinent. However, the actual population estimates are available only for Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Bihar. Its distribution, population and habitat ecology are concentrated in the eastern region. Out of the total area, which is 4,16,665 km2, only about 18,237 km2 that is 4.37 percent was found to be highly suitable while 3,16, 803 km2 that is 76.03 percent was found to be least suitable.
This report underscores the vital corridor between the different patches of habitats connectivity which was highest in the border line area of the two biotic provinces located in the south-eastern zone via districts of Purba Singhbhum and Paschim Singhbhum of Jharkhand and Bankura and West Midnapore districts of Bengal.
Among the Protected Areas (PAs), natural corridors were found to connect the Simlipal National Park, Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary, Dalma ranges of Chotta Nagpur plateau along with Badrama , Khulasuni and Debrigarh wildlife sanctuaries. Wolf is a species that does not require deep forest cover it can live in depleted forest cover.
Indian wolves are classed as endangered with its decreasing population. These animals are capable of living in areas of human habitation.
"We strongly propose changes in the National Working Plan Code 2014 (NWPC 2014) guidelines so that the wildlife management components could be given enough space in the document. Further, we also suggest the participation of local community in management planning should take centre stage so that the biological functionality of the identified wolf corridors in the landscape can be maintained for the long-term genetic viability of wolves. The capacity enhancement and mass awareness creation among the local communities will minimise wolf-human conflict and also it will be helpful in developing compassionate attitude among the local residents towards the species in the region," said Dr Lalit Kumar Sharma, of ZSI who led the study.
Researchers Tanoy Mukherjee and Phakir Chandra Saren were also involved in the study that was conducted under supervision and guidance of ZSI director Kailash Chandra.