Society

Tipplers pose big challenge to blackbucks

There is a sizeable number of blackbucks in the habitat near Thaiyur village. Locals says the animals often visit nearby farms for feeding and drinking water. Photo: K. Pichumani

There is a sizeable number of blackbucks in the habitat near Thaiyur village. Locals says the animals often visit nearby farms for feeding and drinking water. Photo: K. Pichumani   | Photo Credit: K_Pichumani

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Habitat near Thaiyur village must be notified as reserve forest, say experts

The biggest challenge to the blackbuck habitat identified near Thaiyur village is the threat from tipplers who frequent the open area at night, and leave bottles lying around.

Expressing concern, researchers from bio-diversity focus organisation, CareEarth, said the forest department must notify the region as a reserve forest at the earliest.

Recalling how they identified the region, K. Narasimmarajan, a researcher, said: “When I went to Thaiyur for my doctorate thesis, I found blackbucks in the scrub forests there. On my first visit this month, I sighted half a dozen of them, including young ones. The animals were found outside protected areas such as Guindy National Park or other sanctuaries and national parks in the State.”

A visit to the area on Saturday revealed a sizeable number of blackbucks in the place. S. Potheeswaran, a local, said the blackbucks regularly visited nearby agricultural farms for feeding and drinking water. The locals had not bothered the antelopes in the open scrub jungle, he said.

Mr. Narasimmarajan said, however, drunken men often come to the open area after dark and leave empty bottles there, posing a danger to the animals.

People also set up snares to catch small mammals such as the black-naped hare, found in the area in large numbers.

The habitat should be declared a reserve forest to protect the endangered species, said Mr. Narasimmarajan. Studies must be taken up to determine the population status of blackbucks in the area. The demography, habitat quality and threats to the antelope must also be studied in detail.

This should be followed by an action plan to conserve the blackbuck and its habitat, said Mr. Narasimmarajan.

When contacted, forest department officials said the land could be acquired and categorised as a reserve forest, and later a blackbuck sanctuary, if the property is not already classified as grazing land by the revenue authorities.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 4:04:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chen-society/tipplers-pose-big-challenge-to-blackbucks/article6229270.ece

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