Jungle cat, barking deer spotted for first time at Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary

Spread over an area of 2,600 hectares in the Chandigarh, the sanctuary has a large number of waterholes, grazing grounds and good plantation

Jungle cat, barking deer spotted for first time at Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary

Barking deer. File photo

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28

The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is now more rich and diverse than before, as the jungle cat and the barking deer have been spotted for the first time in the sanctuary.

Spread over an area of 2,600 hectares in the UT, the sanctuary has a large number of waterholes, grazing grounds and good plantation, including natural regeneration of indigenous species, which provide an ideal habitat for wildlife in the sanctuary, said Debendra Dalai, Chief Conservator of Forests-cum-Chief Wildlife Warden, UT.

“During a wildlife survey, the presence of the jungle cat and the barking deer has been confirmed by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, which indicates a richer habitat in the protected area,” said Dalai.

Jungle cat. File photo

The Department of Forests and Wildlife, UT, carried out a detailed wildlife survey in the sanctuary from May 5 to 9, 2021, with technical assistance provided by the WII, which has expertise in the field.

As per the report of the WII, it was found that despite being small in area, the sanctuary supports good biological diversity and has the potential to be considered as one of the important wildlife and biodiversity conservation areas, he said. Sambar is the most abundant ungulate species in the sanctuary with the highest density similar to the Rajaji Tiger Reserve. The estimated population of sambar in the sanctuary is 290-763. Other species of animals spotted in the sanctuary during the survey are leopard, jungle cat, golden jackal, Indian grey mongoose, chital, wild boar, nilgai, Hanuman langur, Indian pangolin, Indian porcupine along with bird species of Indian peafowl, red junglefowl.

The WII also recommended that a detailed study on habitat characterisation and vegetation community structure should be undertaken to understand wildlife-habitat relationships in the sanctuary. The surveys conducted for mega herbivores and some bird species of the sanctuary confirmed the presence of 16 species, which includes 13 mammalian species (both carnivores and herbivores). The major bird species of conservation importance included the Indian peafowl and the red junglefowl. Apart from the wild species, the presence of feral cattle and free ranging stray dogs was also confirmed.

‘Indicates richer habitat’

During a wildlife survey, the presence of the jungle cat and the barking deer has been confirmed by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, which indicates a richer habitat in the protected area. — Debendra Dalai, Chief Wildlife Warden, UT

#SukhnaLake #SukhnaWildlifeSanctuary

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