Population of endangered blackbuck species increases in Odisha
Blackbucks, which were sighted in Balukhand-Konark wildlife sanctuary in Puri district till 2012-13, have vanished from that area. This time, not a single blackbuck was sighted there during the census, the official said
The population of the endangered blackbuck in Odisha's Ganjam district has increased by 276 in the last three years, a Forest Department official
said today. The population of the rare species locally called Krushnasara murga or bali harina, is 4,082 as against 3,806 in 2015. In 2011 the number of blackbucks in the district was 2,194, the official said. Ghumusur South forest division was found to have the highest blackbucks at 2,809 followed by Berhampur (1,049) and Ghumusur North (224), he said. Blackbucks, which were sighted in Balukhand-Konark wildlife sanctuary in Puri district till 2012-13, have vanished from that area. This time, not a single blackbuck was sighted there during the census, the official said.
The census was conducted on February 28, 2018, with the participation of forest staff, wildlife activists and experts from different organisations through direct sight method. The result of the census was officially made available recently. "As the population of the blackbucks in Ganjam increased during the period, the majestic animals migrated to some new places like Digapahandi and Berhampur under our division," said Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Berhampur, Ashish Kumar Behera.
Improvement of habitats and protection given by local people and forest staff are the reasons for the increase in population, he said. The population of blackbuck in the area was 523 in 1973. Their number increased to 551 in 1998, 786 in 2004 and 1,101 in 2006, officials said. The blackbucks of Balipadara-Bhetanai area in the district have been protected religiously by the local people for several generations. The people of the area believe that the sighting of the blackbucks in paddy fields is the harbinger of bumper harvest, said the president of Blackbuck Protection Committee (Ganjam), Amulya Upadhyaya.
The villagers do not kill the animals even if they stray into fields and eat their crops, he said. At least five blackbucks died in the district in the last three months, an official said. In 2017-18, a high number of 25 animals had died due to various reasons. As many as 18 and 21 blackbucks had died in 2016-17 and 2015-16 respectively, the official added.
Edited by mid-day online desk with inputs from PTI
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