NATIONAL

Blackbuck conservation reserve proposed in Chamarajanagar

If the proposal becomes a reality, it will be the first such reserve exclusively for blackbuck in theOld Mysuru region.— file PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM  

There is a proposal for a blackbuck conservation reserve at Ummathur and Bagli villages in Chamarajanagar district to sustain their numbers in the wild. Though a final decision on the issue is pending, it was decided at the recent Karnataka Wildlife Board meeting to send a delegation of experts to assess the habitat before approving the project.

The proposed reserve is slated to come up on 1,504.39 acres of government land in the two villages.

The concept was mooted by the Chief Conservator of Forests of Chamarajanagar Circle under section 36-A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Good habitat

In a preliminary report submitted to the authorities, it was pointed out that the area was a good habitat to sustain a sizeable number of blackbuck along with other wildlife, and even the local community was not averse to the idea.

Besides, the Deputy Commissioner, Chamarajanagar, has issued a no-objection opinion in this regard.

At present, the blackbuck conservation reserves are at Ranebennur in Haveri and Jayamanagali in Tumakuru.

A senior Forest Department official said that there was no need for fresh introduction of blackbuck in Chamarajanagar as quite a few of them had been found in Kundagere range of Bandipur Tiger Reserve.

“They share habitat with spotted deer and live in open grasslands in the drier part of Bandipur. And since the area is protected these antelopes will continue to thrive there,” he added. A threatened species, which was bordering on the verge of extinction due to extensive hunting in the pre-Independence days, their numbers are confined to a few reserves scattered across India. If the proposal for the reserve comes through, it will be the first such reserve exclusively for blackbuck in Old Mysuru region.