Imagine this: You are trapped in your own house. You have ample food and water to survive. But there is a big problem, each day little by little your house will shrink. You will have food, but not enough space to move. You had three rooms initially but now you are left with just one! Slowly the room will shrink into half...quarter...and then one day you will find yourself standing at the edge of the door. What will you do next?
This is a cliffhanger the jackals in our city battling with and it is time to worry about the jackal population and its habitat in Mumbai!
Jackals are trying really hard to survive in Mumbai. Every year RAWW attends to at least three to seven cases of Jackal rescues in Mumbai. It is a rare sight for us to rescue a fit jackal and this should be an indicator of their health.
Right from dehydration, to infections from deadly parasites to death by accidents on highways, the jackal population battling for its survival in the city.
The Indian Golden Jackal is one of the important components of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) mangrove ecosystem and unique and unusual addition to typical urban biodiversity. They are often found near the mangrove areas in search of crabs and other marine species. Their presence in the mangroves was first reported around 1913 and it does indicate the richness of the habitat. Even though they have managed to survive the urban onslaught, their shrinking habitat is a serious cause of concern.
Jackals are protected under schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Being one of the animal rescue organizations in the central suburbs we have been working with these animals for many years now. We know that they are found in the mangroves but we have very little scientific data about them. Due to loss of habitat and mangrove cover, they are being spotted more often. We also need to study other factors like a reduction in their prey base or any relation with the stray dog population.
Therefore in 2018, we submitted a proposal to the mangrove cell of the forest department to collect scientific data including a proper census and their current habitat study.
When we talk about the human-animal conflicts in the city, it is not only about our leopard population. Jackals are one of the only mammals surviving in the mangrove forests in the city and it is time for us to study about them in detail before they become extinct locally.