Ahmedabad: As flood water recedes around Blackbuck National Park (BNP) at Velavadar in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat, five more blackbucks were found dead outside the park on Tuesday, with the total death toll now touching 17 in last four days.
Forest department officials said that the blackbucks got stuck into muddy water, becoming victims of attacks by stray dogs. BNP is spread over an area of 34.52 Sq. kms, and it is the only national Park in the country established exclusively for Blackbucks.
According to forest department officials, since August 10, 17 Blackbucks have died after they got stuck into flood waters around the park.
“Of the 17 Blackbucks that have passed away, 16 died after being attacked by stray dogs from neighbouring villages. Due to heavy rains, blackbucks get stuck into the muddy waters and become easy target for stray dogs,’’ a senior forest department official said.
“During the floods, there were no casualties inside the park. Our staff is constantly monitoring the situation and patrolling inside the villages around the park has also increased,’’ said the official.
It is likely that more carcasses of blackbucks will emerge after flood water further recedes in the region. Blackbucks are protected under schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act.
“1,900 of the total 5,800 Blackbucks last year were reported inside the National Park, while rest were found mostly inside village farms around the park,’’ said an official.
“We have formed various teams to rescue blackbucks and have started scanning the area around the park. Forest department had previously formed five teams to rescue blackbucks but the water level was so high that it was difficult for them to do anything,’’ Ankur Patel, Range Forest Officer (RFO) of Blackbuck National Park said.
Other than Blackbucks, over 16 species of Mammals were also recorded at BNP, including Wolf, Jackal, Indian Fox, Desert Cat, Striped Hyena, Jungle Cat, Common Mongoose, Desert Hare and Rufus tailed Hare among others. Nine species of reptiles and 186 species of birds are also found in the park.