BALLARI: An old saying is that animals never forget people who care for them. As if to substantiate it, an antelope here shows remarkable attachment to its caretaker. Seven years ago, Sundari was a just-born fawn. She was one among the over 60 black bucks housed in Ballari zoo. They have now been shifted to Bilikkal zoo near Hampi, where Basavraj now works as a watcher.
Basavraj used to work in Ballari zoo and was in-charge of feeding the animals. As a routine transfer in the forest department, he was posted to Kamalapur region and is now the in-charge of feeding the animals at Atal Bihari Vajpayee zoo, which will be thrown open to public on November 3.Instinct! Can we say? Sundari has surprisingly recognised her old caretaker, who fed her years ago when she was born.
The antelope is so much attached to the person within a span of two- three weeks that it refuses to move out of his sight. It is not even scared of coming into close range of any human being if watcher Basavraj is around. While other animals run for cover at the sight of humans, Sundari is the odd one out. She does not run away even when he comes near. She just follows him.
“It will be just behind me until I come out of the enclosure. Even if I lock the enclosure and go, she waits there and joins others only after at least half-an-hour. She comes out when I get into the enclosure,” he said.
He said he is surprised about the animal and the way it behaves. “I never expected that this animal will remember me so much,” he said.
Basavraj of Guddhur in Ballari, an employee of the department, has now been appointed a watcher here. He loves animals and cares them. Now, he has developed a special affection for Sundari, whom he calls ‘Sundae’. The antelope responds to him quickly. “She is like my daughter,” says Basavraj.
Black buck is a dry land species found in drier areas of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra and Karnataka. Considering their dwindling numbers, the species is protected under schedule one of the Wildlife Act.