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  Metros   Mumbai  01 May 2018  ‘Important step in reducing human-animal conflict’

‘Important step in reducing human-animal conflict’

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : May 1, 2018, 2:58 am IST
Updated : May 1, 2018, 2:58 am IST

“The volunteers have to be scrupulous while counting the animals as many times, the same big cats arrive at the waterholes.

Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
 Sanjay Gandhi National Park.

Mumbai: Wildlife activists have welcomed a proposed forest department census of the leopard population outside the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) as an important step in reducing human-animal conflict.

As the big cats are venturing out into areas of human habitation, it is important to determine the leopard habitats and create a database, the activists say.

 “Leopards coming out of the forest into the city areas show that we are coming with more buildings in forest areas. It is important to know about the existing habitats of leopards as well as any new habitats that the leopards may have moved into. The study will not only give us an estimate on their population but also the number of other animals, as leopards frequent the areas where they find more prey,” said Sunish Subramanian, secretary of plant and animals welfare society (PAWS) and also wildlife warden for Mumbai city.

Meanwhile, wildlife enthusiasts and researchers gathered at SGNP on Monday evening for the annual exercise of counting wildlife on the full-moon night. Every year around 50 volunteers spend the entire night on machans (tree-top platforms).

“We got several applications this year too since March and we had to select the volunteers on a lottery basis. It is a 24-hour exercise where the volunteers stay on machans and count the leopards and other animals that come to the water holes,” said divisional forest officer, SGNP, P.B. Bhalekar.

“The volunteers have to be scrupulous while counting the animals as many times, the same big cats arrive at the waterholes.

This is more like a tradition now that we carry out every year,” he added.

Tags: sanjay gandhi national park, p.b. bhalekar, plant and animals welfare society