Blackbuck in Captivity, Karnataka

Adarsh M K

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

Ignorance of wildlife laws by lay people and a slackness in enforcing them by the authorities are among the major problems facing wildlife conservation in India. It is vital for every person interested in wildlife to get familiar with the Wildlife (Protection) Act and report violations and offences.

Although the species is protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, this male Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) is illegally held in captivity at a religious place (Devargudda) near Ranebennur. It was captured in the nearby fields when it was young and is now an adult buck. Sadly, this sprinter is kept chained the entire day from dawn to dusk. Since Ranebennur blackbuck sanctuary is close, there are frequent sightings of blackbuck in the fields. But holding them captive is an offence and a crime. Recently, another blackbuck, a fawn, was caught in the fields and kept illegally. This matter has been reported to the forest department and I hope the concerned authorities free these poor creatures. The nearby Ranebennur Blackbuck Sanctuary was declared a protected area in 1974 to protect blackbuck, but intense pressures from humans around the park pose a huge challenge.

The blackbuck is an ungulate species native to the Indian Subcontinent. It is listed in Schedule I where the species attracts the highest protection. The Wildlife (Protection) Act (WLPA) prohibits any person (other than a recognised zoo including a rescue centre) from keeping any wild animal (species listed in Schedule I to IV) in captivity without the previous permission in writing of the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW). Every person who by any means obtains possession of such wild/captive animals shall within 48 hours make a report to the nearest police station or the authorised officer and handover such government property. Therefore, possessing animals listed in the Schedules without permission is an offence.

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