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| Last Updated:: 04/03/2016

Velavadar, a blackbuck safe haven








Blackbuck population has increased by 25% in Gujarat convincing the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to put the species under "nearly threatened" category. In the late 1990s blackbucks were classified as vulnerable in the state.


According to the state forest department the Velavadar National Park houses the largest blackbuck population in the country. Apart from Gujarat the antelope is found in Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra.


IUCN, in its report has stated that although Blackbucks have disappeared from many parts due to destruction of its habitat and conversion to agricultural use, the antelopes are growing in numbers in many protected areas. In some areas, the population has increased so much that the blackbucks have become a pest for crops.


A P Singh, additional principal chief conservator of forest said: "Velavadar sanctuary is a safe haven for the blackbucks as the local inhabitants take adequate care and protect the animals."




However, forest officials said that in Velavadar the population may be stable but in other parts of Gujarat the antelope is fast loosing ground. In Mehsana which had a population of around 6,000 blackbucks today has none. Similarly, in Probandar there were over 3,000 blackbucks but the number has dropped to 1,500, this is owing to rapidly changing land use pattern.




The IUCN report has stated that the species inhabits grassland and lightly-wooded country. They require water daily, which restricts distribution to areas where surface water is available for the greater part of the year. Blackbucks are primarily grazers. And mainly sedentary, but in summer may move long distances in search of water and forage.




Source: Times of India