There has not been a single case of blackbuck poaching for the past few years and the credit goes to the locals at Balipadara-Bhetnani area near Aska who have been protecting them, said Dilip Kumar Rout, the divisional forest officer of Ghumsar South in Ganjam district
Blackbuck is listed as near-threatened species. File pic/AFP
The blackbuck, the most elegant species of the antelope family, is on the list of endangered animals but in Odisha’s Ganjam district its number has almost doubled in the last six years.
There has not been a single case of blackbuck poaching for the past few years and the credit goes to the locals at Balipadara-Bhetnani area near Aska who have been protecting them, said Dilip Kumar Rout, the divisional forest officer of Ghumsar South in Ganjam district.
Like the Bishnoi tribe community in Rajasthan, the people of Ganjam has been protecting the blackbucks as they consider that seeing one is harbinger of prosperity for them, former wildlife warden of Odisha S S Srivastav said.
The number of blackbucks, locally called Krushnasara Murga or Kala Bahutia, has increased 7,358 in 2021 from 3,806 in 2015. In 2011, their population in the area was 2,194, Rout said.
The Ganjam district is in fact the only habitat of the animal at present in Odisha and one can see hordes of blackbacks roaming freely in the area. This is in sharp contrast to the situation in Balukhand-Konark wildlife sanctuary in Puri district where blackbucks, which were seen till 2012-13 is not seen any more.
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Improvement of habitat, protection by the local people and forest staff are the reasons for the increase in the number of blackbucks in Ganjam, Rout said. Some blackbucks have died in accidents while moving across roads, fighting among themselves and dog bites. “But not a single poaching case was reported in the past some years,” he said.
The villagers do not harm the animals even if they destroy crops. Though the region is not protected by the government, the animals roam freely due to the protection given by the villagers, he said.
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