An many as 1,234 wild animals including leopards, deer, monitor lizards and snakes were rescued from residential areas in Haryana between 2010 and 2019, information procured from the state wildlife and forest department under the Right to Information Act has revealed.
The rescued animals include 7 leopards, 356 Sambar deer, 18 Chital or spotted deer, 295 snakes including 95 pythons, 242 Blue bull (nilgai) and 222 monitor lizards. Two of the seven rescued leopards were sent to zoos as they were found unfit to be released back into the wild.
In 2020, an injured leopard was rescued after it fell in an empty water tank in a small hamlet in Tikri, Morni Hills. Later, the leopard was transported to Pipli Zoo, but died within the next 24 hours. In March this year, during the lockdown, an adult leopard was rescued from a palatial house in Sector 5, Chandigarh, and released in the Morni Hills.
At least two leopards and one leopardess were found dead in Pinjore, Morni and Kalesar areas in the last 10 years. Sources said that the post-mortem of two of the carcasses revealed they had been hit by heavy vehicles. The leopardess was found dead while entangled in barbed wire of the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL), which shares a boundary with Morni forests.
Residential areas from where wild animals were rescued fall in the jurisdiction of wildlife sub-division Kalesar (Yamunanagar district), Pinjore, Morni, (both in Panchkula district), Kaithal, Ambala and Pipli (Kurushetra district).
The records suggest that a majority of wild animals — 1,081 out of 1,202 — were rescued from residential areas in Pinjore wildlife division. These include three leopards, 10 spotted deer, 200 nilgai, 255 snakes including 86 pythons and 195 monitor lizards. Pinjore wildlife division covers residential areas of Kalka, Pinjore and Chandimandir.
Interestingly, only 39 wild animals out of 1,202 were rescued from residential areas within Morni wildlife division, which is a core forest area.
Panchkula Divisional Wildlife Officer Shaym Sundar Sharma said, “Morni wildlife sub division is a core forest area having two wildlife sanctuaries within itself. The number indicates that people residing within and around the Morni forests have adapted to wild animals.”
Khol-Hai-Raitan and Bir Shikargha wildlife sanctuaries are situated in Morni Hills at a distance of 18 km. The two are interlinked.
Residential development, haphazard construction
A senior wildlife officer said, “The residential development around Pinjore, Panchkula and haphazard construction has definitely disturbed the free movement of wild creatures. Monitor lizards, barking deer, leopards etc. prefer to follow their traditional routes. Human settlements are coming up in the middle of their traditional territories, routes. Sambar is a natural prey of wild animals including leopards, wild dogs, hyenas etc. Its presence in acute number in the forests indicates availability of enough prey for carnivores.”
Dr M P Singh, a leading conservation breeding specialist with the Punjab wildlife department, said, “Wild creatures intruded into human settlements in search of food, but it cannot be denied that humans have breached their territories also.”
DECADE OF CONFLICT
Wild animals rescued from human settlements:
Other snakes: 295
Monitor lizard: 222
Blue Bull (Roj): 242
# 2 rescued leopards out of 7 kept in zoos as they were found not fit for survival in wild
# 1,081 out of 1,202 animals rescued from residential areas in Pinjore wildlife division, Panchkula
# 39 of 1,202 rescued from residential areas within Morni wildlife division, a core forest area.
# In 2020, injured leopard rescued after it fell into empty water tank in Morni Hills. Transported to Pipli Zoo but died in 24 hours
# At least two leopards and one leopardess found dead in Pinjore, Morni and Kalesar in last 10 years. Post-mortem examination revealed they were hit by heavy vehicles. Leopardess was found dead while entangled in barbed wire
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