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ZSI survey finds striped Hyena, Grey wolf population doing well in South Bengal forests

Kolkata: A status survey of 5 wildlife species in south Bengal forest by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) finds that the striped Hyena and Grey Wolf are doing well in terms of their population status. These animals are often involved in conflict with humans.

However, the ZSI scientists are a bit disappointed as no camera capture of Leopard Cat was found during the last 2 years of field sampling in the entire study landscape.

The five species of animals involved in the survey— assessed through sign survey, camera trapping, and non-invasive DNA analysis— are Golden Jackal, Striped Hyena, Wild Boar, Grey Wolf and Leopard Cat in the forest ranges of Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram, Midnapore and parts of Burdwan.

It may be mentioned that retaliations among villagers and wild boar is not a rarity in the forests of South Bengal. While the animals have caused damage to agricultural land, people have killed them to save their crops.

The conflict with jackals, wolves and hyenas result from the animals' involvement in the depredation of livestock and poultry.

Purulia had at least 5-6 sightings of Hyena and some sightings of Grey Wolf while Bankura North particularly Kangsabati south area had sightings of Golden Jackal and Wild Boar. Striped Hyenas have been sighted in Bankura south too.

Golden Jackal and Wild Boar were found to be most conflicting while Grey wolf and Hyena were found to cause most livestock depletion.

The study is being undertaken under the request of the state Forest department.

The funding is being done by the state under the JICA project.

Dr. Kailash Chandra, Director of ZSI said the objective of the study is not only to have an estimate of the population but also to model the current distribution of species and hotspot mapping of places with man – animal conflict.

"We will submit a report to the state Forest department along with suggestions on how to deal with human-wildlife conflict cases in the landscape and also

provide a conservation and management strategy for the long term viability of these species by March this year, "Dr Lalit Kumar Sharma, head of Wildlife Section of ZSI said.

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