A herd of 24 blue bulls fell in Botad branch canal of Narmada in Ranpur taluka and two of them were killed, forest officials said.
The incident took place at Keriya village, five km from Ranpur, on Saturday night. Forest officers suspected that the herd fell in the canal after being chased by farmers.
“We suspect farmers were chasing this herd when the animals fell in the Narmada canal at around 4:30 pm Saturday. There was four-feet water in the canal and the antelopes were washed one kilometre downstream. Around 500 residents of Keraliya volunteered to rescue the stranded animals,” Chatur Chudasama, range forest officer (RFO) of Ranpur, told The Indian Express Sunday.
Officials said that the rescue operation continued for eight hours. “Blue bulls were trying to swim for their life, but were unable to jump out of the canal. Eventually, volunteers pulled them out with the help of ropes. However, the canal water was cold and a sub-adult male and a female died minutes after being rescued. The remaining 22 ran away after being pulled out of the canal,” Chudasama said.
The RFO said that there is no forest area in Ranpur, but the population of blue bulls, popularly called nilgai, is thriving. “The area is rich agriculturally and blue bulls damage standing crops. We have received several complaints from farmers about these wild animals damaging their crops,” he said.
The RFO said since the incident took place in revenue area, nobody was booked. “We have prepared panchnama and drafted ground report about the incident. We have also recorded statement of village sarpanch and prepared a report on the disposal of carcasses,” he added.