In deep well, predator turns cosy to its prey

It was a long night when a wolf in distress lived with a goat it chased hours before

Published - April 18, 2012 01:54 am IST - JAIPUR:

A wolf which chased a goat into a well in Dausa district of Rajasthan remained with the latter throughout the night reflecting a unique instance of animal behaviour when in crisis. Both the animals were taken out unhurt from the more than 50 feet deep well when villagers, after hearing the bleating goat from the depth of the well next morning, alerted the State Forest Department staff.

It all happened in Namner village, some 75 km from here, in Dausa's Sikrai tehsil on Sunday evening when the wolf, chasing a solitary goat from a herd grazing in the scrub land, followed it to the well. Both the animals remained together as the wolf chose not to eat his prey while its own life was in danger. The predator fled the moment it was taken out of the well tied to a rope.

“The behaviour of the wolf in this case was interesting though it was quite normal for any creature in distress. We have heard of snakes and rats co-existing under stressful situations. More than food, self-protection or preservation becomes more important,” noted Jaipur Zoo Director Ajay Gupta.

“Both the animals, one domestic and the other wild, were taken out by the Forest team with the support of local villagers. The rescue team, led by Range Officer Ram Singh, was surprised to find the animals in fairly good shape after a long night's stay together in a deep well,” said Divisional Forest Officer L. P. Sharma talking to The Hindu on phone from Dausa.

The rescue team used ropes to pull out the animals one by one. The goat went to its owner while the wolf ran for its life once the rope around its trunk was loosened. “Normally in such cases we release the animal in the wild or in its natural habitat. If it is a leopard we release it in a sanctuary,” Mr. Gupta said when asked why the animal was not taken to the zoo. “Moreover, the zoo here does not have room for more animals,” he added.

“The villagers thought it was ‘jarakh' (hyena) which had jumped into the well with a goat. We did not correct them as saving a wolf from them would have proved more difficult than saving a hyena,” Mr. Sharma said. “This was the first time we rescued a wolf from the well in this area. As for hyena, every month we rescue at least one.”

Hyenas do not hunt domestic animals as they normally feed on putrid carcasses. The villagers tend to make wolves their target as they consider them potential goat lifters. As per the wildlife census 2011, Dausa district has 67 wolves.

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