Odisha's Forest Department is preparing for the biennial blackbuck head census

Odisha's Forest Department is preparing for the biennial blackbuck head census

The forest department is preparing for Sunday's yearly blackbuck head count in Ganjam district, the state's only refuge for the beautiful animal.

Across three forest divisions, including Berhampur, Ghumusar South, and North, more than 500 people in more than 100 units will count the endangered species, an official said.

Enumerators have received instruction from experts on how to count blackbucks. Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Ghumusar South Dillip Kumar Rout said that the counting will begin at 6 am and go till noon.

According to the Red Data Book and Schedule 1 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 (as revised in 1992), the blackbuck is an endangered species.

The blackbuck count was last conducted in 2021. At that time, there were 7,358 of the animal in the area.

Former Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) SS Srivastav noted that in addition to the Vala Rajputs of Saurashtra and the Bishnoi community of western Rajasthan, the people of Ganjam, particularly in the Balipadar-Bhetanai areas near Aska in the district, have been enthusiastically protecting blackbucks because they are connected to their history, folklore, and religious sentiments. According to Amulya Upadhyaya, head of the Blackbuck Protection Committee (Ganjam), "the people in the area believe that the appearance of the blackbuck in the paddy field is a portent of good luck for them."

The locals, according to him, don't hurt blackbucks. The animals walk freely because the locals are protecting them even if the region is not protected by the government. He continued by saying that as a consequence, the animal's number has grown in the neighborhood.