BERHAMPUR: The biannual census of blackbucks in Ganjam district, the sole habitat of the endangered animal in the state, was conducted on Sunday. Over 500 enumerators divided into 100 teams were engaged in the exercise in Berhampur, Ghumusar South and Ghumusur North forest divisions. DFO of Ghumusar South Dillip Rout said the census started at 6 am and concluded by noon. The blackbucks are protected under schedule-1 of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and considered vulnerable as per the Red Data Book.
Sources said the blackbuck population in the district is on the rise for the last five years. As per the census conducted in 2021, the district had 7,358 blackbucks including 4,196 females. The number is believed to have risen further this year in the 10 ranges (five in Ghumusar South, two in Ghumusar North and three in Berhampur).
Apart from the Bishnoi community of western Rajasthan and Vala Rajputs of Saurashtra in Gujarat, people of Ganjam, especially from Balipadar-Bhetanai near Aska, have been protecting the blackbucks which are associated with their history, folklore and religious sentiments, said Berhampur DFO Amlan Nayak. The people of the region believe that the sighting of blackbucks in paddy farms is harbinger of good luck for them, said president of the Blackbuck Protection Committee (Ganjam) Amulya Upadhyaya.