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Operation Blackbuck to end before deadline

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Staff Reporter

1,992 animals were caught and 1,910 of them translocated to Guntur district

KURNOOL: The Forest Department is likely to wind up Operation Blackbuck by March by which time the target is expected to be met.

The Forest Department had launched the project to reduce the size of blackbuck population in 10 mandals of Adoni division in the district to check crop damage by the animals.

The officials initially estimated the project to cost Rs. 8 crores and last three years.

But the total cost of the exercise did not cross Rs. 1.35 crores and it is expected to be complete within a year.

So far, 1,992 animals were caught and 1,910 of them translocated to Guntur district. Conservator of Forest P.K. Jha said the light and sound method had helped them reduce the cost and time.

A team of four trained people work together to catch the animals during nights. One of them is equipped with a headlight and a buzzer. On seeing the bright light in the dark, the animal gets immobilised while the humming sound from the buzzer is used to drown the sound of footsteps of the team. Once the team moves closer to the animal, a small net fitted to a ring is spread out to catch it.

The team is paid Rs. 500 per animal while other incidental expenses are met from the general fund.

The forest officials noticed sores caused by chemicals on the legs of the animals. The animals developed sores when were exposed to the sulphur-based chemicals mixed with dew. Even the men on the hunting job developed blisters on the feet.

Mr. Jha said the animals in serious condition were treated before being left in the wild.

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