Volunteers monitored the animals from machaans. File pic
While some wildlife lovers and the general public have been claiming that Sanjay Gandhi National Park does not have enough prey for the park's leopards, the recent watering hole census conducted on a full moon night has proven that there is more than enough prey for the wild cats. This year's census showed 392 spotted deer, seven leopards, 37 sambar, 32 wild boar and many more smaller animals.
Two volunteers each along with two forest department guards had taken part in the waterhole census on May 10. The census was conducted at 49 watering holes inside SGNP. The volunteers were seated on machaans tracking the animals.
An official said, "There is a belief that because there is not enough prey for the leopards, they venture into slum pockets in search of pigs and dogs. Our recent census has proved this belief wrong."
"There are 174 monkeys, 86 langurs, 32 wild boar, 37 sambar deer, 392 spotted deer, seven leopards, nine jungle cats and three peacocks. These numbers mean that there is more prey that what was earlier recorded. Also, the numbers could be higher as several animals may not even have come to the watering holes that night," added a forest department official.
A study undertaken two years ago by researcher Nikit Surve had also found abundant prey in the park.