In a first, Gujarat to release in the wild 10 wolves bred in captivity — after training

Source: The post is based on the article “In a first, Gujarat to release in the wild 10 wolves bred in captivity — after training” published in Indian Express on 11th March 2023.

What is the News?

Gujarat Forest Department is set to shift 10 Indian grey wolves from a conservation breeding centre at Junagadh’s Sakkarbaug Zoological Park(SZP) to forested areas in north Gujarat and north Saurashtra.

The wolves are being released into the forested areas to check the population of wild herbivores, including blue bulls (nilgais), wild boars which have been causing significant crop damage in these parts.

What is Wolf?

The wolf (Canis lupus), also known as the gray wolf or grey wolf, is a large canine native to Eurasia and North America.

Wolves are known for their speed and can run up to 45 km/hour. Being a natural predator; they tend to prey mainly on rodents, hare and livestock.

IUCN Status: Least Concern

Wolves Population in India:

According to a pan-India survey of wolves in 2018-19 by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), the population of wolves in India was estimated to be 3,100.

This makes wolves almost as endangered as tigers, whose estimated population in the country is around 2,967. Both tigers and wolves are classified under “Schedule I” of the Wildlife Protection Act.

The highest concentration of wolves is currently in Madhya Pradesh (772), Rajasthan (532) and then Gujarat (494).

The study estimated that the density of wolves was one individual per 100 sq km and an average pack comprised three wolves. It also found that the density of wolves was low in territories dominated by apex predators like lions and tigers, but high in semi-arid scrub, grasslands and open forest systems.

Threats: The wolves are threatened by habitat loss due to development, hybridisation with dogs, fast-traffic roads, diseases, and severe persecution by pastoralists. 

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