Blackbucks are found in plenty in Koppal district. But the Forest Department has no plans to set up a sanctuary there for the herbivore.
The state has a dedicated sanctuary for blackbucks in Ranebennur of Haveri district.
Recently, farmers of Yalburga and Koppal taluks raised concerns over blackbucks damaging their crops. According to an estimate, crops worth Rs1 crore were damaged by blackbucks in the last one-and-a-half years in Koppal district.
The Forest Department has compensated most of the affected farmers in these two taluks.
Blackbucks, found across 200-300 acres of land in Koppal and Yalburga taluks, feed on standing crops. Farmers do not harm these blackbucks fearing the ‘wrath of God’.
They urge the Department to shift these herbivores to nearby sanctuaries so that their crops are saved.
‘Shifting Not Possible’
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) G S Prabhu told Express that shifting thousands of blackbucks from one place to another is impossible. “They are very sensitive and they may die of trauma if we try to catch and tranquillise them,” he stated. Besides, he said, no forest land is available in Koppal district and the department has to cough up crores of rupees to purchase land from farmers.
“Around 400-500 acres is required to set up a sanctuary. Under these circumstances, the department feels that they are safe wherever they are with no single incident of poaching. We do not mind giving compensation to farmers for crop losses but we are not ready to take the risk of shifting them to another sanctuary,” he said.
The Forest Department frequently interacts with farmers regarding the menace of blackbucks in the two taluks.
Farmers were told of the pros and cons of shifting these blackbucks to some other sanctuary.
The area in Yalburga and Koppal taluks are ideal for the conservation of blackbucks.
“The Department has taken a number of steps to protect these animals which were declared as endangered in 2003,” said Prabhu.