Census reveals no sign of tigers, bears and hyenas
Nearly 40,000 acres of pristine jungle exists in the reserve forest areasCensus conducted using the `line transact method' to locate carnivorous animals
VIJAYAWADA: In the reserve forests of Krishna district, leopards and wild dogs top the list of carnivores in food chain in the absence of tiger population. This came to light in the census of carnivorous and herbivorous animals conducted by the Forest Department recently.
According to statistics, nine per cent of the total geographical area of Krishna district is covered by forest. Huge stretches of the 1.94 lakh acres of the forest have become degraded and partly have fallen to encroachments. But there is 30,000 acres of pristine jungle in Kondapalli Reserve Forest and another 10,000 acres in the Gaddamarugu Konduru Reserve Forest. Large carnivores and herbivores often stray into the G. Konduru Reserve Forest from Khammam district. The Forest Department conducted the census using the line transact method to search for all carnivorous animals like tigers, leopards (also referred to as panthers), wild dogs, bears, hyenas, jackals and wolfs. Pugmarks and faecal matter have confirmed the presence of leopards (Pathera pardus) and wild dogs (Cuon alpinus).
Divisional Forest Officer K. Suryanaryana says that Forest Department staff and others have confirmed the presence of wild dogs, which is evident from the howling and other vocalisations often heard in the jungles. However, there are no signs of tigers, bears and hyenas in the reserve forest of the district.
A large number of jackals (Canis aureus), one wolf (Canis lupis pallipes) and one civet cat (Vivarricula Indica) have been also recorded in the census for carnivores.
Plenty of wild boars (Sus scrofa) are found in the survey for census of herbivorous animals. Marks of many large herbivores like Sambar (Cervus unicolor) and Chital (Axis axis) have also been recorded.
A limited number of barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak) and four-horned antelope (chowsingha) (Tetracerus quadricornis) have also been sighted. Other mammals like Rhesus monkey (Rhesus macaque) langur (Presbytis entellus), hare (Lepus nigris collies) porcupine (Hystrix indica) exist in good number. Peacocks and jungle fowl are the large birds that inhabit the forests.
The Forest Department has created several water holes and salt licks to help the large animals to protect themselves from the heat of the summer, Mr.Suryanarayana says. The Sattemma Talli temple tank in the heart of Kondapalli reserve forest and other tanks date back to the British times, he says.