FIVE BLACKBUCKS died, three of them after being chased and attacked by stray dogs, near the Blackbuck National Park (BNP) in Vallabhipur taluka of Bhavnagar district on Tuesday.
The park was inundated following heavy rain in the basin of Kalubhar and Ghelo rivers over the past week, forcing the ungulates to move to higher grounds near villages.
“Three blackbucks were found dead in Devaliya village at around 11 am on Tuesday while two more were found dead in Savaikot area near Savainagar village. The female blackbucks found dead in Devaliya had ventured near the village to escape the floods… but were chased and killed by stray dogs,” sources in forest department told The Indian Express.
Sources said that the two other animals found dead in Savaikot had drowned. “Their bodies were swollen and prima facie they drowned in the floodwaters. One of them was a male, while the other a female,” the sources added.
This is second consecutive year in which blackbucks have died while trying to escape flooding in Bhal region, a coastal plain in Bhavnagar district and also a grassland, which acts as natural habitat of these herbivores.
Blackbuck ( Antilope cervicapra) have been included in Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and thus enjoy the highest legal protection in the country. “Our patrolling teams are monitoring herds of blackbucks in all accessible areas. They have rescued four blackbucks that were being chased by dogs on Tuesday,” said a forest officer posted in the area.
The BNP is spread over just 34.52 square kilometers and is home to around 2,000 to 2,500 blackbucks.
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