A pregnant black buck found lying with a bullet injury in the neck near village Bhagu in Abohar’s open private wild life sanctuary in Fazilka district on Saturday morning later died at the Gaushala hospital where it was taken by villagers.
The autopsy done in at the veterinary hospital indicted the animal was pregnant and injury was suspected to be from a bullet, though it was not found lodged in the body. Sources said the injured black buck was found in a field belonging to farmer Sukhchain Singh who informed the members of Bishnoi community, which reveres the animal.
Doctors who conducted the autopsy said the black buck was to deliver a male child.
R D Bishnoi, president of Akhil Bhartiya Bishnoi Samaj which takes care of black bucks in this open wild life sanctuary, said they suspected the hunters who often came during this season as ones behind this act. “We have filed an FIR against unknown persons. In the past one year, 3-4 such incidents have happened. Hunters often come during night hours.”
The sanctuary is spread over 186 square kms of 13 villages of Abohar mainly populated by the Bishnoi community. This is the only private wild life sanctuary in the country. A recent census conducted by Punjab’s Department of Forests and Wildlife Preservation pegged the number of black bucks in this sanctuary at 3,273, down from 3,500 in the 2011 census.
Among the factors blamed for their deaths were as cobra wires (bladed edged iron wire mesh) put up by farmers across their fields. This restricts movement of the animal and they often get injured due to these wires. Such wires have resulted in injuries of nearly 10 animals in the past one year, Bishnoi said.
Recently, the district administration banned sale and purchase of these wires, but their use can still be seen in the area. The other reason for fall in the number of black bucks, as cited in the recent census, is stray dogs which attack black bucks. Bishnoi said, “Already, there is a dip in the number of black bucks. Now, hunters are also targeting them. We need support from the Wildlife department and the Punjab government for the safety of this animal. Because of these challenges, black bucks are even migrating to other parts and hence the sanctuary is under threat.”