For the past few weeks large herds of blackbucks were sighted in Khallikote range under Berhampur forest division, which was not considered to be their habitat earlier.
Areas under Aska and Buguda forest ranges of Ganjam district are the natural habitat of the antelope. In these areas, blackbucks live close to human habitats in villages like Bhetanai, Buguda, Bajraput, Siddhanai, Banabali etc.
With monsoon being active, large herds of blackbucks were seen in open fields of Khandadeuli, Santoshpur, UDSpur, Poirasi panchayats. As they prefer to remain in the open during rain, they are called the harbingers of rain. Inhabitants of Ganjam district revere blackbucks.
Wildlife activist, R.N.Sahu said the presence of these blackbucks is a welcome change for environment. He urged the forest department to ensure that water was provided to the animals.
Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) S.S.Mishra said they had started tracking the movement of blackbuck herds that have started to appear in Khallikote forest range.
“If these blackbucks prefer to stay back in this area, we would make all possible efforts to provide them necessary protection with support of locals,” he said. There are also several young ones in the herd.
According to the DFO, the animals seem to have migrated from Buguda and Aska forest ranges after cyclone Phailin. The Phailin cyclone in October last year and the continuous rains that followed had led to migration of blackbucks from their normal regions of habitation in Ganjam district.
Migration of black bucks is not new to Ganjam district. Earlier, blackbucks used to migrate from Aska and Buguda forest range areas in search of food. In 2012, some blackbucks had migrated to Khallokote forest range, but their number was small. Blackbuck herds were also seen to have migrated to areas near Bhanjanagar in 2012. Source: The Hindu