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Updated: September 23, 2013 15:22 IST

Big boost to blackbuck conservation at IIT-M

    P. Oppili
    Vasudha Venugopal
Comment (6)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
The blackbuck was made the flagship species on the IIT-M campus. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan
The Hindu The blackbuck was made the flagship species on the IIT-M campus. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

A considerable increase in the population of blackbuck, an endangered ungulate, has been reported in the IIT-M campus here.

According to available data the blackbuck population was a dozen during 2006, which has reached 34 during a recent census.

For details, see infographic at left.

R.J. Ranjit Daniels of Chennai-based CareEarth, a biodiversity research organisation, said during 2006 there were reports of dwindling blackbuck population on the IIT-M campus. At that time, the population was recorded to be 12. Following this, the IIT authorities entrusted the work of documenting the biodiversity on the premises to CareEarth.

A team of trained biologists was roped in for the work and it identified the precise number of blackbucks, both male and female. The team also mapped the critical blackbuck habitat on the premises.

Proliferation of Prosopis juliflora (Veli Kaathan in Tamil) had been identified as one of the reasons for the dwindling population. Another issue was the cutting of trees. Thirdly, the team declared that critical habitats be declared as ‘No Development Zones’. The IIT authorities agreed to look into the three suggestions made by the team.

As a first step, the IIT authorities removed prosopis from a small area, where bamboo was planted. This helped in the growth of native grass species. The blackbuck was made the flagship species on the campus, and the IIT authorities were guided by a conservation plan. Census on the blackbuck population was taken up annually.

In 2008, the second counting was done, which showed an increase of eight animals. The third counting was done in 2010 in which nearly 25 animals were recorded. From 2010 onward the census was done every year, Dr. Daniels said.

“Careful and well-informed development led to the recovery of the species in the campus. The results showed how conservation can be balanced with development. Even in a densely populated area careful planning can help increase the wildlife population,” he added.

IIT-Madras Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi said the institute, in recent years, had taken all steps possible to increase the blackbuck population.

“We have taken the help of experts to see the best measures are implemented. Since a lot of construction work is under way on the campus, we are taking extra care to see all the recommended measures are followed.”

Oh its a good news as far as black buck is concerned. why do not we all inculcate a habit to eat vegetarian food and think for the safety of wild animals. black buck easily found in our fields because they know that we "Bishnois" LOVE them.if we succeed to realise them that we realy love them, they feel relaxed and starts enjoying and results increased population.it ia a natural conservation which being followed by since 500 yrs. our Guruji Jamboji teaches us "jeev daya palni, runkh lilo ni ghave" means have compassion or kind for living being and do not cut green tree.

from:  Banshilal Bishnoi
Posted on: Sep 23, 2013 at 15:03 IST

Prosopis juliflora (tam. veli kaathan ) is a poisionous spp. for elephants when water sources become scarce..the injested beans & leaves become hard in the interstines in absence of water thereby preventing the movement of waste for excretion (due to hardness the muscles are unable to expand/contract for pushing out ). In N.India rajasthan the seeds are removed & bean fed to the goats etc..So I presume the venom lies in the seed.

from:  C.R.W.Corfield
Posted on: Sep 23, 2013 at 10:18 IST

An year ago there were a family or deers roaming on Taramani Link Road shrubs ... Many calls for Blue Cross and Forest Officials turns blind attention. As the shrubs were removed I could not find those deers any more! It is just next to Taramani Link Road Indian Bank.

from:  Raj
Posted on: Sep 23, 2013 at 07:32 IST

very well done !!!

from:  Haresh
Posted on: Sep 23, 2013 at 05:43 IST

Kudos to IITM for taking the situation seriously and improving it.

from:  Abhishek
Posted on: Sep 23, 2013 at 04:58 IST

in my last visit to the IITM campus, I saw an albino blackbuck.

from:  R S Vasan
Posted on: Sep 23, 2013 at 02:12 IST
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