Sunday, August 02, 2020

With fewer flights, jackals back at Kolkata airport grassland

Kolkata: A combination of less aircraft movement and abundant rainfall has turned Kolkata airport’s sprawling grassland around the runway into a happy hunting ground for jackals. In recent weeks, there have been multiple sightings, causing anxiety among pilots and catalyzing a renewed drive to rein them in.
“The reduction in flights emboldened the jackals to move out of the burrows. The monsoon also played a part with the overgrowth providing a cover. After repeat sightings, we have started trapping them. The latest one was on Friday, the second one in July,” said Kolkata airport director Kaushik Bhattacharjee.
A sustained effort last year had nearly freed the airport premises of jackals. But since they breed fast, the pack has again grown. A pair produces between two and four pups in a litter and their gestation period is a mere 63 days; the pups attain reproductive age in less than a year. Striking a jackal weighing around 10kg while making the take-off run or just after landing can cause major damage to aircraft In June, DGCA deputy director D C Sharma had said, “Given the environment of reduced aviation activity, bird and wildlife are expected to expand their environment. Hence, it is advised not to ease wildlife control measures.”
02/08/20 Tamaghna Banerjee/Times of India
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