It was a rare sight when a wildlife lover spotted a jackal in a mangrove belt off the Eastern Express Highway recently. With the rapid destruction of mangroves, the animal being spotted is a rare sight.

The jackal in the mangroves near Bhandup pumping station, which was spotted while the volunteer was on his way back from birdwatching. The same man had spotted two jackals in 2012 as well. Pic/Adwait Jadhav
The jackal in the mangroves near Bhandup pumping station, which was spotted while the volunteer was on his way back from birdwatching. The same man had spotted two jackals in 2012 as well. Pic/Adwait Jadhav

The jackal was spotted by 21-year-old Adwait Jadhav, a wildlife volunteer with Resquink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW), when he had gone birdwatching in the mangrove belt near the Bhandup pumping station off the Eastern Express Highway.

Pawan Sharma from RAWW said, “The animal was spotted more than two weeks back, when Adwait had gone birdwatching early in the morning. He was lucky two years ago, too, when he captured two jackals on lens in the same belt.”

Calls for conservation
The sight gave hope to environmentalists and wildlife experts, since animals were still inhabiting the otherwise rapidly declining mangrove cover. Jackal sightings were common in the nineties in the mangrove belts of Dahisar, Lokhandwala, Ghodbunder, Malvani, Malad too.

But, the rapid destruction of mangroves, along with illegal dumping of construction debris, say wildlife experts, has led to the decline in spotting them. Experts demanded proper conservation schemes to help preserve the animals and their natural habitat around the city.

Sharma added, “If we want to save this beautiful animal, the government should come up with a proper programme for the conservation of jackals. The Mangroves Cell should get involved with likeminded individuals and organisations, and spread awareness and act necessary towards conserving mangroves.”