For a long time, it was believed that the wolf was on the brink of extermination in Karnataka. Most of the belief stemmed from the fact that the study of wildlife in the plains was ignored, as the charismatic fauna of the Western Ghats took up a lot of the time and efforts of wildlife biologists and researchers.

Bagalkot wolves-edited

Bagalkot District in the eastern plains of Karnataka saw a surge in interest in the wildlife of the district mainly due to the efforts of Mr. Vijay Mohan Raj, Chief Conservator of Forests, Belagavi, and Mr. M.R. Desai, Honourary Wildlife Warden of Bagalkot District. They undertook an extensive documentation of the forests surrounding Yadahalli in Bilgi Taluk, which is now the Chinkara Wildlife Sanctuary. This documentation process kindled great interest in the frontline staff of the Bagalkot Forest Department. Officers at every level became conversant with setting up camera traps, and every track and scat was interpreted and followed up. Wildlife talk became central to their daily activities, which was previously dominated by afforestation activities.

The staff of Jhamkhandi range was keenly tracking a pack of wolves; incidentally, Jhamkhandi Ravikumar (ACF, Social Forestry), who is keenly interested in birds and fauna, recorded the first sightings of this pack. The wolves’ pack was in excess of 14 individuals, along with young puppies. The staff of Jhamkhandi range set up a camera trap at the water-hole which the pack used to frequent, and finally pulled off a photograph which says more than a thousand words about the resurgence of wolves in North Karnataka.