Agra: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) with support from Uttar Pradesh forest department and an NGO Wild Life SOS Saturday launched a research project to study and translocate wild jackals from Akbar's Tomb area in Agra to save blackbucks.
A forest department official said the long term plan is to shift around three dozen jackals to a nearby forest area in Bainpur range after alarming reports suggested decrease in the number of black bucks whose young ones are being preyed on by jackals, following which the ASI sought the help of other agencies.
Wildlife experts said blackbuck fawns were being killed by the jackals whose number has increased severalfold as there are no natural predators in the area to keep their numbers in check.
"As a result, the jackals were preying on the fawns of the blackbucks, whose population has come down to just about 100 from several hundred a decade ago," the official told IANS, speaking on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The official said the traps to capture jackals would be camouflaged and those trapped would be translocated to a natural habitat. The operation could take three to six months.
Baiju Raj MV, a wildlife biologist from an Wildlife SOS who is also the officer in charge of the Agra Bear Rescue Facility said: "We will be deploying a combination of indigenous and scientific techniques to translocate the jackals. The entire project is designed in a way to ensure safe and successful translocation of the jackals to a safe and alternative habitat."
Rupak De, IFS - Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden of Uttar Pradesh said "This is a first time effort as previously we have translocated spotted deer and sloth bears. Very efficient and advanced technology will be used by Wildlife SOS to relocate the jackals back in their natural habitat."
H.V. Singh, director, Archaeological Survey of India, said: "We are very happy to collaborate with Wildlife SOS for the Jackal Translocation Project as they have adequate experience to implement this initiative successfully."
Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder, Wildlife SOS said: "Jackals play an important ecological role and are valuable for the health of a habitat."
"The translocation process will involve conditioning of the jackals using feed source to a safe enclosure after which they will be contained using smart traps scientifically designed with automatic triggers that will not hurt the animals," he added.