New Delhi: After a tiger went missing in Sariska national park, there has been more trouble brewing as three more species have not been sighted in the park in the last few years causing wildlife scientists to ring the alarm bells.
The Chinkara, the Caracal and the Chousingha, three species that are elusive, and were once found in small numbers in 800 sq km of forests, have not been sighted in the last 10 years in Sariska, a park where much attention has been focused on restoring the tiger population, after it lost all its tigers to poaching.
But, a recent study by the Wildlife Institute of India states that there have been no records of the Caracal sighting or tracks/scats in last 5 years. Earlier, a small population was found in Kalighati.
There has also been no record of the Chinkara. Earlier, a small population of the Chinkara existed near Baleta during till 1992. There have been no reports of the Chowsingha as well. Earlier, Chowsingha was seen in small numbers in 2001.
Some wildlife experts, however, argue that this doesn't mean the species has gone extinct.
Koustabh Sharma said, "Species like the Caracal are elusive, maybe it still exists in small numbers. It doesn't mean that they are extinct."
The fact is that animals like the Chowsingha or the Chinkara are indicator species, and their disappearance reflects the health of an ecosystem.
So the question is that what could be the reason why the population of these species have crashed. Experts say one reason could be human pressures on the park, such as the presence of cattle.
It is time that we look at the entire biodiversity of a national park and for the government to order more species specific studies to corroborate the findings.