News: According to a Study, the wildlife corridor of the Aravallis in Gurgaon and Faridabad harbours a richer variety of mammals than the Asola Wildlife Sanctuary despite not having as much protection.
- About the Study: The study was conducted under the Worldwide Fund for Nature’s small grants programme and was supported by the non-profit Centre for Ecology Development and Research (CEDAR).
- Small Grants Programme: It is an initiative of WWF. It aims to encourage young Indians to respond innovatively and independently to the conservation issues which affect the country by offering eligible individuals a one-time grant of upto INR 400,000 over a maximum period of 2 years for undertaking conservation research/ action research.
Key Takeaways from the study:
- Aravallis: Aravallis in both Faridabad and Gurugram has a larger variety of mammals compared to the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary which is classified as a protected area and enjoys legal protection under the Wild Life (Protection) Act.
- Reason: It can be attributed to the attitude of tolerance to wildlife amongst the local population, general low density of people and “subsistence agricultural practices prevalent in the two districts.
- Significance: The hotspot of wildlife in Aravallis is between Damdama and Mangar Bani and wildlife moves from there to Asola through the Aravalli in Faridabad. This indicates that Asola will survive as long as the Aravalli region of Gurgaon and Faridabad survives.
- Mammals Species: The study has revealed that around 15 species of mammals were recorded in the 200 sq km area that was covered including Gurgaon Aravallis, Mangar Bani, Faridabad Aravallis and Asola Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Among these mammals, two species—the leopard and the honey badger- are classified as endangered under Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act.
- Concerns: Increasing construction is a major threat to the wildlife corridor. Hence, it is imperative to control land-use change and protect the wildlife corridor and habitat from further fragmentation, construction and deforestation.
- Suggestions: Construction of expressways and highways also needs to take into account wildlife in the city such as by constructing underpasses or flyovers that allow at least a portion of the wildlife to cross from one part to the other and prevent complete fragmentation of wildlife populations between Aravallis of Delhi and Haryana.
- Aravallis Range: It is a mountain range in Northwestern India running approximately 692 km starting near Delhi, passing through southern Haryana and Rajasthan and ending in Gujarat. The highest peak is Guru Shikhar at 1,722 metres.