The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary has become richer and more diverse than before, according to the wildlife survey conducted by the UT Department of Forestry and Wildlife in May 2021.
According to the investigation report, which has now been made available, a jungle cat and a barking deer have been spotted in the city for the first time.
“The presence of the animals has been confirmed by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, indicating a richer habitat in the protected area,” said Debendra Dalai, Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden. , Chandīgarh.
“The species are native to the area, but were not identified during the previous survey in 2010. Both species likely migrated to the sanctuary from nearby areas,” Dalai added. Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary covers 2,600 hectares in Chandigarh.
Sambar density similar to Rajaji Tiger Reserve
The report also revealed that sambar is the most abundant ungulate species in the sanctuary, with a population density similar to that of Rajaji Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand. The estimated population of sambars in the sanctuary is between 290 and 763.
Dalai said, “Also outside the shrine, there are around 250-300 sambars in the city. Their high density is facilitated by the lack of carnivores.
Other animal species spotted during the survey include leopard, golden jackal, Indian gray mongoose and chital. Surveys conducted for mega herbivores and some bird species confirmed the presence of 16 species including 13 mammals, including carnivores and herbivores. Major bird species of conservation importance included Indian Peafowl and Red Waterfowl.
In total, 67 species of birds were identified in this survey compared to 63 in 2010. In 2010, nine species of mammals were identified compared to 13 currently.
WII recommended that a detailed study of habitat characterization and plant community structure be undertaken to understand wildlife-habitat relationships in the refuge. Apart from wild species, the presence of feral cattle and free-roaming stray dogs has also been confirmed.