BERHAMPUR: Members of the Blackbuck Management Committee, a local organisation working for protection of the antelopes in Ganjam district, have written an open letter to Bollywood actor Salman Khan inviting him to attend the blackbuck census in Bhetnoi.
The 49-year-old actor is accused of hunting the endangered species of deer during shooting of film ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’ in Rajasthan in 1998.
The letter, written by the committee convener Amulya Upadhyaya, stated that like Rajasthan’s Bishnois, villagers of Bhetnoi protect the blackbuck. The committee along with the local forest officials will be conducting a census of blackbucks in the area on March 1 and the members want Khan to witness the census and the symbiosis between people of Bhetnoi and the animals.
“The blackbucks symbolise prosperity for us and they bring good luck. For generations, we have been their silent guardians. In turn, they have delighted us with their playful antics which are a joy to behold,” the letter read.
At the end, Upadhyaya urged Khan to come with a camera, and not with a gun.
Blackbuck is considered to be the fastest animal in the world next to Cheetah. Due to its restricted distribution and other threats, it is included in the list of Schedule-I species of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and designated as vulnerable. It is also found in the Puri-Balukhanda Sanctuary.