An Indian striped hyena caught on camera traps recently by the forest department. | Photo Credit: An increase in the frequency of sightings of the elusive Indian striped hyena ( Hyaena hyaena ) in the buffer zone of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) raises hope among conservationists and forest department officials that the species is re-establishing itself in the region. The species, whose numbers declined substantially over the last few decades, used to be seen even in the upper Nilgiris till the 1950s. In the book, Whispers from the Wild , noted conservation biologist Priya Davidar, recalls the calls of a striped hyena near her house in Church Hill in Udhagamandalam during those times. The numbers dropped since then, said B. Ramakrishnan, assistant professor at the Department of Zoology and Wildlife Biology at the Government Arts College in Udhagamandalam. A reason for the decline in the Sigur plateau is that in the 1980s and 90s, people reared cattle in pens. After the carnivores preyed on their cattle, the farmers would poison whatever remained of the carcasses of cattle. Other carnivores that came to prey on cattle, and other wildlife such as the striped hyenas and vulture also died after […]


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