Livestock depredation by wolves in the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary, Nannaj (Maharashtra), India.
Satish Kumar and Asad R.Rahmani
Food habits of the Indian wolf Canis lupis pallipes were studied in the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary, Nannaj between 1991-1994. Estimation of wolf depredation on livestock is essential to implement compensation, management, and conservation plans for the wolf. Blackbuck Antilope cervicapra was the primary prey species of wolves in the sanctuary; goats and sheep were the major livestock taken. Data on livestock killed, age of kill, distance of the kill from the sanctuary, and the terrain where the kill was made were collected. More goats than sheep were killed, and livestock depredations were higher during the pup-rearing period of wolves, when pups were dependent on parents and/ or helpers for food.
Multiple attacks were made by wolves on livestock herds to divert the attention of guard dogs. Sixty-three percent of the kills were 1-4 m. from a bush or some other vegetative cover. The maximum number of kills (52 per cent) made during daytime was found up to 0.2 km. from the sanctuary plots. The owners retrieved 16 per cent of the total livestock kills, by chasing the wolves or with the help of guard dogs. Mauled animals rarely survived. All the kills occurred in the grazing lands outside the sanctuary, but kills were carried into the core areas of the sanctuary. There was a monthly variation in the abundance of goats and sheep in the study area.
Contact: Satish Kumar, Department of Wildlife Sciences, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh - 202 002, Uttar Pradesh.
Asad R. Rahmani, Bombay Natural History Society, Hornbill House, S.B. Singh Road, Mumbai - 400 023, Maharashtra.