Since the time actor Salman Khan was booked for poaching two blackbucks in Rajasthan back in 1998, the population of the animal in the state has increased substantially, state forest department data has revealed.
According to wildlife census data of the Rajasthan forest department, the total number of blackbuck in Rajasthan stood at 30,530 in 2016, which is way more than 14,701 in 2007, the year from which both reserved forest area and non-reserved forest area were counted for the census.
Officials attribute a substantial part of this increase in the number of blackbuck to the awareness that came after the actor was booked in the poaching cases. Khan was convicted on Thursday by a Jodhpur court and sentenced to five years of imprisonment.
“Of course, we have to keep in mind that one of the reasons for this increase in blackbuck population is because now the area of the census has increased and also the census methods have improved with advancement of technology. But there’s no doubt that there has been an increase in their numbers,” said GV Reddy, chief wildlife warden, Rajasthan.
The data indicates that the blackbuck population in both reserved forests and outside it were 13,050 in 2009 which increased to 16,560 in 2013.
“Poaching was a phenomenon that was seen in a select few districts such as Jalore, Bikaner and Nagaur and has gone down over the years. One of the reasons for this is the awareness about black buck that was generated after this case involving the actor came into limelight,” said Reddy.
However, officials said that new challenges have come up over the years. “Dogs killing black buck that get stuck in nylon nets installed in farms is a big problem these days. This is because the irrigated area has increased because unlike earlier, water is available through various means such as bore wells apart from traditional sources such as rainwater,” said Reddy.
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