Etawah (UP): The endangered Indian grey wolf has recently been sighted in the confines of National Chambal Sanctuary in Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh.
This is the first confirmed sighting of a wolf in the region in two decades — the last sightings were reported during ‘Operation Bhediya’ carried out between 1997 and 2000 to map the canines’ footprint in Chambal.
According to wildlife experts, the sighting of an Indian wolf holds significant implications for the ecological balance in the Chambal region. The sanctuary is already renowned for being a haven for critically endangered ghariyals, red-crowned roof turtles and the elusive Ganga River dolphins.
Kartik Dwivedi, an education officer with the Etawah Lion Safari, took the picture of the grey wolf on January 15 on his way to the interpretation centre in the Baah range. “I thought it was a jackal but an experienced field officer Ranjit Kamar accompanying me said it was a wolf,” he told reporters.
He then sent the pictures to many wildlife experts, including the ones associated with Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun. “They all have responded in affirmation that it was indeed an Indian grey wolf,” said Dwivedi, who played a crucial role in the rehabilitation of 13 leopards in Bijnor.
Divakar Srivastava, a retired district forest officer in Chambal, said Indian wolves were seen during Operation Bhediya launched in the late 90s, a first serious attempt to map their presence number-wise.
“It was then that wolves were seen but after that they seemed to have disappeared. I have spent some time here in Chambal but there has not been any information or signs of wolves in decades. Everyone is excited after this sighting,” he said.
“Forests are fast depleting so are wolves. There have been reports of wolf sightings in East UP in the recent past but not in Chambal where they used to be good in numbers,” he said.