Berhampur, August 20 (LocalWire):Mystery shrouds the death of two blackbucks in a week in Ganjam district’s Polsara forest range. While the forest officials recovered the carcass of a six-year-old male blackbuck from Malibagada hill near Dhunkapada on Sunday, a five-year-old male animal was also found dead near Sodaka in the same range on August 10.
In India, hunting of the Indian Antelope, as the blackbuck is known, is prohibited under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
“We did not find any injury marks in both the carcass of blackbucks.
But the animals were not old age, and hence we suspect that the animals might have died due to intake of pesticides, which the locals might have used in the paddy or any other crops,” the forest range officer Polasara Ramesh Chandra Sahu said.
He, however, stated that the exact cause of the death would be known only after getting the post-mortem report.
Wildlife activists, however, expressed concern over the death of two endangered animals in a week in the same locality.
“It’s a very serious matter. Wildlife organisations should take it very seriously and order for a high-level probe in the incident,” Ganjam district Blackbuck Protection Committee president Amulya Upadhaya said.
According to sources, over 30 blackbucks including the two animals have died in the district due to different reasons during the current year, while 18 and 21 blackbucks had died in 2016-17 and 2015-16 respectively.
The blackbucks usually come out to the open in search of food during the rainy seasons when the fields are full of water. This also leads to infighting between the herds and road mishaps, while they also fall prey to the predators, particularly stray dogs, a senior forest officer said.
Ganjam is the only district in the state where the blackbucks are found roaming freely with the protection of the people.
People of the area protect the animal considering their appearance might be a harbinger for them and to yield a good harvest.
According to the animal census held in February last, the population of blackbuck in the district had increased to 4,082 as against 3,806 in 2015, and 2,194 in 2011, official sources said.