Limping wolves baffle wildlife lovers

Limping wolves baffle wildlife lovers

 Experts split on possible cause for limping wolves. photo by Dr S K ArunMining in Bellary has been encroaching on the habitat of wolves, many of which now have been sighted hopping with an incapacitated left leg, the cause of which is baffling wildlife enthusists. 

Honorary Wildlife Warden Santosh Martin, during regular monitoring for the great Indian Bustard, found three wolves limping near Siruguppa taluk of Bellary.

“Before I could dismiss it as a one-off sighting, a similar sighting was reported from another part of Bellary, when Anand Kundargi, another naturalist reported another group of limping wolves,” he said. Dr S K Arun, a surgeon from Bellary and a wildlife enthusiast, photographed a limping wolf near a marsh.

Asad R Rahmani, Director, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), who worked on food habits of wolf says he is not aware of such a disease, but speculates that it could be just a physical problem.

Dr Satish Kumar, Reader, Wildlife Science Department, Aligarh Muslim University,  does not rule out a disease affecting the wolves.

“Too many limping wolves is indeed worrisome. It could be due to an ailment like foot and mouth disease or due to injuries caused by a snare, wherein a whole pack of wolves was caught and suffered injuries while trying to escape,” he says.

H N Kumar, wildlife expert who worked on canid species in the State agrees. “It is obviously an anthropogenic problem. I checked on all the diseases affecting the canid species, but the symptoms of none resembles the effects of this one.”

He did not rule out traps causing serious injuries to the animals.
The Indian grey wolf, which once roamed the Indian grasslands in thousands, is a critically endangered animal now, with its habitat lost shepherds killing them to protect their sheep and goats.

Wolves once roamed Karnataka’s vast plains and dry grasslands, spanning 1,23,330 sq km. Now they are restricted to small pockets, mainly in the northern dry belt of Karnataka and are classified as a Schedule-I animal in the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

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