294 an­i­mals spot­ted in 24-hr Yeoor cen­sus

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - HT NAVI MUMBAI - Megha Pol megha.pol@hin­dus­tan­times.com

THANE: Nitesh Pan­choli, 32, an in­te­rior de­signer and a wildlife res­cuer, was thrilled to spot a leop­ard a mere few feet away from his machan. Pan­choli had vol­un­teered for the 24-hour wa­ter­hole cen­sus con­ducted by the for­est depart­ment dur­ing the week­end – May 21 and May 22 - to count the num­ber of species in the Yeoor and Nagla range of the San­jay Gandhi Na­tional Park.

The volunteers spot­ted three leopards in one night, apart from over 294 an­i­mals from var­i­ous species of mon­keys, deers and other mam­mals and rep­tiles. Apart from leopards, few also spot­ted a rare bird, the Sri Lankan frog­mouth, in this sur­vey.

Pan­choli said, “We were five of us sit­ting on a machan near a wa­ter­hole in Yeoor. Three of us were volunteers and two were for­est guards. Around 8pm, we heard mon­key calls on the moun­tain at the op­po­site side of this hole and re­alised that a wild cat is on the hunt. There were no calls for an hour and we lost all hope of sight­ing the leop­ard.”

Luck, how­ever, was on their side, as from the op­po­site side of this moun­tain the group saw a leop­ard ap­proach­ing the wa­ter­hole. “I had spot­ted leopards

ear­lier in Yeoor but sight­ing it dur­ing a cen­sus, un­der the moon­light and merely 20 feet away was a thrilling ex­pe­ri­ence,” he added.

Apart from this wild cat, an­other species which got the most at­ten­tion in the cen­sus was the frog­mouth bird. Kr­ishna Ti­wari, a con­ser­va­tion­ist said, “This bird is found in the Western Ghats and was reg­u­larly sighted in the Phansad sanc­tu­ary. Since last year though we are hear­ing its

call in Yeoor and also spot­ted it dur­ing the cen­sus.”

The bird is dif­fi­cult to spot. It thrives on in­sects and the calls can be heard from dawn to dusk.

Ti­wari added, “The cen­sus was not a pop­u­la­tion es­ti­ma­tion but con­ducted to get an idea of how many an­i­mals can be spot­ted in a sin­gle night. The count shows that Yeoor has a rich bio­di­ver­sity which needs to be pre­served.” The for­est of­fi­cials claim that this is rough count and not a fac­tual data of the num­ber of species in Yeoor. “This is a tra­di­tional method of sur­vey car­ried out ev­ery Bud­dha Pourn­ima. This year, we have spot­ted a good num­ber of species at var­i­ous wa­ter­holes,” said a for­est of­fi­cer.

PRAFUL GANGURDE

92 mon­keys were spot­ted dur­ing the 24-hour wa­ter­hole cen­sus con­ducted by the for­est depart­ment

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.