Wind Mills, Poachers Drive Wolves Away in India

Once the habitat of wolves and hyenas, now replaced by wind mills at Gajendragad

Subhash Chandra N S / / October 5, 2007

Endangered hyenas and wolves rapidly disappearing from Gajendragad

HUBLI: Wind energy is safe and reliable. But the eco-friendly mills set up to generate wind energy, are posing a threat to the very existence of rare hyenas and wolves at Gajendragad in Gadag district.

Three years ago, Gajendragad was recognised as a safe haven for highly endangered species like the Indian grey wolf and striped hyenas, but then came wind farming and wind mills with huge noisy fans and human traffic to maintain these machines. It drove away these species from their habitat.

Dr H N Kumara, wildlife biologist, observed the changes during his visits to the place. ''Some years ago, I could sight huge packs of animals during my visits. My week-long stay here had revealed that these places were an ideal den for the wolves. But after a couple of years, the habitats were destroyed and wolves disappeared,'' he explained.

The hills were destroyed for the construction of roads and huge mills by a private firm, replacing the dry decidous place. The only beneficiary is cattle, for they can graze free and without fear. ''There were a lot of wolves here. And the sight of grazing sheep was rare. Now the situation is the reverse. The wolves have gone, '' said Goni Basappa Koralahalli, a shepherd.

Prashant Rathod says he had sighted wolves several times, but it was more than a year ago. Now no one comes across wolves. The status of the Indian striped hyena, an endangered species, is no different. They have disappeared since the past three years.

''This is a significant habitat for these hyenas and we had seen some near goshalas around Kalakaleshwar temple. But there are gone. It is possible that too much of human interference might have driven them away, he said.

Power generation is permitted on this government land and about five mega watt of power is generated. Officials from the forest department were not available for comment on the alarming migration of animals. The forest department had reported many incidents where bears made life miserable for people in Arasikere and parts of Hiryur recently.
Nocturnal species dwindling

HUBLI: The Indian grey wolf (canis lupus) is found in the Deccan plateau and differs from its Himalyan cousin. Though considered secondary predators with significant roles in the food chain, the numbers of this nocturnal and diurnal species is dwindling rapidly due to poaching, loss of habitat and threat from feline species.

The species is protected under Wildlife Act Schedule-1.
The Indian striped hyena, a scavenger species was sighted in places like Gajendragad, Chitradurga, parts of Tumkur region, around Doroji, Sandur and Bidar.