Kartick V Bhat
I have been visiting the Jayamangali Blackbuck Conservation Reserve (formerly Maidenahalli) over the past 3 years, and have observed the number of blackbuck drastically falling. There are several threats to the reserve:
- I saw this unfortunate sight of a blackbuck with a wire entangled around its neck. It may have been a trap set to catch blackbuck or drive them away from farms. I have never seen this before — this is a new threat for the animals.
- Private land surrounding the reserve is leased at throwaway prices to agencies that drill deep borewells to exploit ground water and grow crops. Endangered blackbuck are in constant conflict with the farmers, as they wander out of the reserve in search of food and water.
- Namdhari Seeds has recently started cultivation of vegetables and flowers in the the grasslands. The plastic from the sapling package is discarded irresponsibly, posing a huge risk to the foraging herbivores and other wildlife in the grasslands.
- On yet another side of the reserve is a grape farm (vineyard) with electrical fencing that blocks free movement of blackbuck. The area under grape cultivation is increasing by the day.
- Sand mining lorries rip through the sanctuary at very high speeds everyday during early hours as this route is a short cut. This ruins habitat plus poses roadkill risks to the blackbuck and other wildlife.
- There are a lot of sheep the blackbuck share their habitat. The sheep herders use dogs to protect their livestock and these dogs sometimes prey on newborn blackbuck
Only immediate and strict enforcement can save the reserve and its blackbuck .
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Tumkur district's first and only protected area desperately needs help. Already tiny at a mere 798-acre (3.23 sq km) the reserve has numerous threats from all quarters.