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regular-article-logo Friday, 14 June 2024

'Nilgai' in town, but eludes foresters: Pictures clicked, but yet to get caught

On Sunday night and early on Monday, residents of several locations of Balurghat town sighted an antelope suspected to be a Nilgai. Many people clicked its photos but foresters have yet to trace the animal

Kousik Sen Raiganj Published 21.05.24, 11:49 AM
The picture of the animal that looks like a Nilgai clicked by a Balurghat resident early on Monday

The picture of the animal that looks like a Nilgai clicked by a Balurghat resident early on Monday

Foresters based in South Dinajpur are in search of an elusive Nilgai in Balurghat town.

On Sunday night and early on Monday, residents of several locations of Balurghat town sighted an antelope suspected to be a Nilgai. Many people clicked its photos but foresters have yet to trace the animal.

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“I had gone out home late at night as one of my relatives fell sick. I saw the animal on the road. It stood for a few seconds and jumped away. Later, I learnt from others that it was a Nilgai. We informed the police. It is surprising because we have not heard of a Nilgai living anywhere in and around our district,” Gobinda Sutradhar, a Balurghat resident who could catch a glimpse of the animal, said.

Many others, including some morning walkers, spotted what appeared to be the Nilgai at Power House, State Bus Garage and district police lines of the town.

“A few days back, a similar-looking antelope was seen in Tapan block adjacent to the town. We wonder if it is the same Nilgai. Our men are in search of it. We have shared our contact details with residents so that anybody seeing the animal can inform us immediately,” said Sukanta Ojha, a range officer of the state forest department posted in Balurghat.

Sources said the animal might have entered South Dinajpur from Bangladesh as the district shares its borders with the neighbouring country.

“We suspect that the animal has somehow freed itself while it was being smuggled through the area. There is no known habitat of the animal in this region. But right now, our priority is to trace and catch it, so that it can be released into the wild,” said a forester.

The Nilgai is an endangered species according to the red data list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, said experts.

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