With no population estimation for wolves in the subcontinent, there is no idea of how many exist today. Considered vermins, they were once extensively hunted by the British for their skin. With much of their natural prey gone, as also the grasslands which was their habitat, the wolves often end up killing livestock and are persecuted for that. However, the story changes across landscapes.
WCS-India working with Deccan Conservation Foundation has been studying wolves in human-use areas in Koppal district of Karnataka. During the course of the survey, it was discovered that in the vast grasslands of Koppal, shepherds and their flock of sheep and goats have for legions co-existed harmoniously with wild wolves. Rather than panicking, local shepherds believe the occasional loss of livestock to the wild canine is actually a good sign. Their knowledge of lupine behavior helped the team set up camera traps at strategic spots frequented by wolves. Given their positive contribution, any conservation plan for the region must include the local populace that has accepted wildlife as an intrinsic part of their lives.
Scientific research on small carnivore species (members of families Viverridae, Herpestidae, Mustelidae, and subfamily Felinae) by our scientists includes a radio-telemetry study of ranging and movement patterns by the endemic and poorly-known brown mongoose, investigations of patterns of habitat use by many of the species occurring in the Western Ghats, based on reliable camera trap survey data and less reliable secondary information from local communities, spatial and temporal associations between nine species of small carnivores in the Western Ghats
Camera trap surveys carried out by WCS – India to estimate tiger and leopard densities across India have produced valuable occurrence records for several rare and elusive carnivores such as the clouded leopard, Malayan sun bear, marbled cat, hog badger, fishing cat and ratel.
In addition, we have supported research projects specifically directed at carnivores other than tigers and leopards which include hyena population estimation in Rajasthan, assessment of patterns and determinants of small-clawed otter occupancy in the shola-grassland as well as plantation areas in the Anamalai hills, investigation of habitat use by Indian foxes, studies on parasitic loads in Asiatic lions, occupancy modelling of small carnivore data from Bhadra, among others.