Blackbucks migrating to newer areas

Berhampur: Blackbucks, an endangered species found in Balipadar-Bhetanai area in Ganjam district of Odisha, seem to be migrating to newer areas, official sources said.

At least two blackbucks were rescued by the villagers from various places in the district. One of them was found at Balipada near here, while another at Babanapur near Aska in since Friday

We have rescued a male blackbuck from Balipadar near here. The animal will be handed over to the Nandankanan zoo authority in Bhubaneswar, said divisional Forest Officer, Berhampur S S Mishra.

The blackbuck also reportedly migrated towards Jagannath Prasad and Belaguntha areas in search of food and water as some of the water bodies in their habitat have dried up, sources said.

When the blackbucks migrate to other areas they may be easy target to the poachers. They also meet with accidents on the roads, the wildlife experts feared claiming at least five blackbucks had reportedly died in a fortnight. Officials, however, said only two died.

We have information about the migration of the blackbuck. But we have no information about their death due to scarcity of water,? said divisional forest officer, Ghumusar South R.Ch Sethi.

He said there were several ponds in their areas. Though the water level receded, ponds have not dried up. The animals are using them, added another officer at Aska.

Increase in population might be one of the causes for migration of blackbucks to newer areas, said an expert. The population of blackbuck in the area was counted at 2181 in the last census conducted in July 2011. The population of blackbuck was estimated at 1672 in 2008. Their number was 551 in 1998, 786 in 2004, 1101 in 2006, sources said.

Improvement of habitats, protection given by local people as well as forest staff was some of the reasons for increase of the population of the blackbuck in the area, forest officials attributed.

The blackbucks have been protected religiously by the local people for several generations. They have strong belief the presence of blackbuck in the paddy fields brings prosperity to the village.

The villagers do not kill the animals even if they strays into the field, said president, Blackbuck Protection Committee Amulya Upadhyaya.