The plan is to develop it on 1,504.39 acres of land at Ummathur and Bagli villages

There is a proposal for a blackbuck conservation reserve at Ummathur and Bagli villages in Chamarajanagar district to sustain their numbers in the wild. Though a final decision on the issue is pending, it was decided at the recent State Wildlife Board meeting to send a delegation of experts to assess the habitat before approving the project.

The proposed reserve is slated to come up on 1,504.39 acres of government land in the two villages. The concept was mooted by the Chief Conservator of Forests of Chamarajanagar Circle under section 36-A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, The Hindu  newspaper reported.

In a preliminary report submitted to the authorities, it was pointed out that the area proposed was a good habitat to sustain a sizeable number of blackbucks along with other wildlife, and even the local community was not averse to the idea. Besides, the Deputy Commissioner, Chamarajanagar, has issued a no-objection opinion in this regard. The president of Ummathur Gram Panchayat and the panchayat development officer have also supported the concept to declare the area as a conservation reserve.

At present, the blackbuck conservation reserves are at Ranebennur in Haveri and Jayamanagali in Tumakuru. However, a senior Forest Department official said that there was no need for fresh introduction of blackbucks in Chamarajanagar as quite a few of them had been found in Kundagere range of Bandipur Tiger Reserve. “They share habitat with spotted deer and live in open grasslands in the drier part of Bandipur. And since the area is protected these antelopes will continue to thrive there,” he added.

A threatened species, which was bordering on the verge of extinction due to extensive hunting in the pre-Independence days, their numbers are confined to a few reserves scattered across India. They survive in open and dry grasslands and woods. If the proposal for the reserve comes through, it will be the first such reserve exclusively for blackbucks in Old Mysuru region.

‘The area proposed is a good habitat to sustain a sizeable number of blackbucks along with other wildlife’