Forest department gears up for biannual head count of blackbucks in Odisha
The forest department is gearing up for the biannual head count of blackbucks in Ganjam district, the only habitat for the majestic animal in the state on Sunday.
Over 500 persons in over 100 units will count the endangered species across three forest divisions, including Berhampur, Ghumusar South and North, an official said.
Experts have provided training to enumerators on counting methods of the blackbuck. The counting will start from 6 am and will continue till noon, said Dillip Kumar Rout divisional forest officer (DFO) Ghumusar South.
The blackbuck is a Schedule-1 animal as per Wildlife (Protection) Act-1972 (amended in 1992) and is considered as vulnerable according to the Red Data Book.
The last time the blackbuck count was held was in 2021. The population of the animal in the district then stood at 7,358.
Besides the Bishnoi community of western Rajasthan and the Vala Rajputs of Saurashtra, the people of Ganjam, especially Balipadar-Bhetanai areas, near Aska in the district, have been enthusiastically protecting blackbucks which are associated with their history, folklore and religious sentiments, said former chief conservator of forest (wildlife) SS Srivastav "The people of the region believe the sighting of the blackbuck in the paddy field is harbinger of good luck for them," said president of the Blackbuck Protection Committee (Ganjam) Amulya Upadhyaya.
He said the villagers did not harm blackbucks. Though the area was not protected by the government, the animal freely roams as they are protected by the villagers. This has resulted in the animal's population increasing in the district, he added.
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