Saturday, May 21, 2011

Foresters fear urbanisation may take toll on porcupines in Gujarat.

Fi May 20 2011,
While most forest officials associated with leopard and sloth bear census in Vadodara and surrounding forest ranges are certain about the increased number of the animals, not a single porcupine was spotted in the region during the three-day counting exercise.
Records of the state Forest Department showed there were 398 porcupines across Gujarat and ravines of Sindhrot near Vadodara was their most preferred home.
“It is true that we did not see a single porcupine in the three days of census. It was strange as we had sighted a number of them during the last census. We are not sure about how many were there at that time, but the fact that not a single porcupine was seen means there is certainly something wrong,” said M R Gadhvi, Range Forest Officer, Vadodara. He said that extensive urbanisation near the Sindhrot ravines was the “obvious reason” behind the possible fall in the number of porcupines.
Deputy Conservator of Forests M R Patel, however, said that the census was for leopards and sloth bears and that the points selected for the drive were on the basis of these animals. “As far as porcupine number is concerned, it will be officially declared in a couple of days. Like any other animal, porcupine will also get affected by urbanisation,” he said.
Sindhrot, located nearly 15 km from Vadodara city, has become a hotspot for developing farmhouses and ravines have been turned into flat surfaces at several locations. The number of resorts has also increased in the last five years.

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