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27 February, 2009

'Red alert: Blackbuck numbers on the wane'

Source: The New Indian Express, Bengaluru, 23 Feb, '09

Link: http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=Red+alert:+Blackbuck+numbers+on+the+wane&artid=qf6zORGiYXU=&SectionID=Qz/kHVp9tEs=&MainSectionID=Qz/kHVp9tEs=&SEO=blackbucks&SectionName=UOaHCPTTmuP3XGzZRCAUTQ==

Red alert: Blackbuck numbers on the wane



DAYS NUMBERED? A male blackbuck at the Maidenahalli Conservation Reserve in Bangalore on Sunday.
First Published : 23 Feb 2009 03:44:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 23 Feb 2009 11:29:34 AM IST


BANGALORE: The number of blackbucks in the state is fast dwindling, finds a census conducted in and around Dayamangali Conservation Reserve in Tumkur by the forest department.

The census was released in the city on Sunday. The census, conducted in association with NGO Wild Awareness Nature Club (WANC), estimated the population of the endangered species at 458.

This is a steep fall from the 2002 census data, which had pegged the number at 600.

Dayamangali is one of the two blackbuck reserves in the state, the other being Ranibennur Reserve.

Direct spotting method was adopted for the census, in which 100 volunteers and 25 forest department officials participated. The number of male and female blackbucks were put at 129 and 325 respectively, while the gender of four was not known.

The first blackbuck census in Dayamangali in 1997 had put the numbers at 408. "The population rose during 1997-2002, but has dwindled now. Reasons for this could be loss of habitat, heavy use of pesticides in farms and electric fencing," says Ameen Ahmed, Secretary of WANC. The demography of the area has been changing during the last few years. "Earlier the area around the forests was occupied by marginal farmers, who cultivated groundnut and dry crops. Now these holdings have been consolidated and acquired by large farmers, who use it for horticulture.

This has affected the mobility and feeding practices of the blackbuck, which tends to stray a lot. Commercial activities by vested interests, with some support from the government, has been going on in the area," says Ahmed.

Adding to the trouble is a road right in the reserve forest area constructed by the Zilla Panchayat (ZP) authorities without the forest department's consent.

A case filed by the department against the ZP authorities is pending in the court. However, the road continues to be used by the public.

The number of poaching cases in the area has also risen recently. In two separate incidents, the forest department and the police had arrested poachers in the last ten months. Poaching is usually for sport or meat.

Forest guards should be given vehicles and equipment for patrolling.

More funds should be allocated to protect the blackbuck, activists say.

"This forest was declared a blackbuck reserve, but no funds were allocated for it. Blackbuck or antelope cervicapra is the only animal belonging to the antelope family that is spotted in India and more needs to be done to protect it," says TVN Murthy, wildlife warden in Tumkur district.

10 February, 2009

Feb 22, 2009: Census at Jayamangali Blackbuck Reserve, Karnataka


UPDATE ON 17 FEB 2009

Dear Nature lover,

We have CLOSED the registration to new participants.

If you have already submitted your form, we THANK YOU FOR SHOWING YOUR INTEREST TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CENSUS. THE RESPONSE HAS BEEN OVERWHELMING AND WE HAVE RECEIVED OVER 400 INQUIRIES AGAINST THE AVAILABLE FOOD AND ACCOMMODATION FOR 75 PEOPLE + 15 FOREST STAFF/ VOLUNTEERS.

WE ARE CONDUCTING A BLACKBUCK CENSUS AGAIN IN NOVEMBER, AS WELL AS A
BIRD SURVEY IN DEVARAYANADURGA FORESTS IN MONSOONS, THIS YEAR. THOSE
OF YOU WHO COULD NOT BE ACCOMMODATED THIS TIME WILL BE GIVEN FIRST
PREFERENCE THEN.

Please click here to see if you were one of the first 100 participants
http://maidenahalli.googlepages.com/censuslist

Best regards,
WANC,
Tumkur

--
WANC (Wildlife Aware Nature Club)
Tumkur, INDIA
htpp://wildlifeaware.googlepages.com

-----------------------------------------------
UPDATE ON 13 Feb. 2009

A couple of the participants who happen to run an adventure organisation, 'X-Trails' have come forward to transport other participants from Bengaluru to the venue. Please contact Mr.Omer Khaiser or Mr.Prasad at omer.kaiser@gmail.com OR 98450 19200

DISCLAIMER: WANC OR KARNATAKA FOREST DEPARTMENT DO NOT OFFICIALLY ENDORSE THIS. PLEASE SPEAK DIRECTLY AND DO YOUR RESEARCH OF 'X-TRAILS' OR THE PERSONS BEHIND THEM, BEFORE GETTING INTO ANY FINANCIAL DEAL.

Dear wildlife lovers,

Introduction:
Blackbuck is one of the most endangered mammals of India. Its population in India, once estimated at 40 lakhs is now estimated between 25 - 35 thousand. Jayamangali Blackbuck Conservation Reserve neighbours Maidenahalli, a small village in Madhugiri Taluk, at the north-eastern tip of Tumkur district of Karnataka state. It has the largest contiguous population of Blackbuck in Karnataka, next only to Ranibennur sanctuary. Apart from blackbuck, this area abounds with birds of prey and wildlife - typical of grasslands.

About the census:
The first ever census was conducted in the area in 1997 by Forest Department and WANC, led to the counting of 408 blackbuck. Subsequent census in October 2002, had resulted in the counting of over 600 blackbuck.

The 3rd Blackbuck and wildlife Census of this Conservation Reserve is being held on 22 (Sunday) February 2009. The census aims to approximate the current population of blackbuck in the area along with other mammals. The census has been organised by Tumkur Division of Karnataka Forest Department in association with WANC - Wildlife Aware Nature Club.

FAQs (FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS):

1) How can I register?
Please send an email, BEFORE 15th February, the filled registration form that was sent to you. If you have not received the form as an attachment, please email Ameen Ahmed at tumkurameen AT gmail.com. Selected participants will be informed by 17th Feb by email.

2) Is there any registration fee?
No. Participation is free.

3) Will I be provided food?
Yes, you will be provided simple vegetarian food during the length of the census, specifically the following:
a) Dinner on 21 (Saturday) night.
b) packed breakfast on 22 (Sunday) morning.
c) lunch on 22 (Sunday) afternoon.

4) Can I bring eatables?
Yes, you can bring eatables. But please do not litter the area with plastic and remember to take away packaging of all your eatables.

5) Will I be provided accommodation?
Yes, you will be provided basic accommodation in the forest bungalow at the conservation reserve. We encourage you to bring your own supply of floor mat, bed spread, a bed sheet to cover yourself as well an air pillow. Bringing along an odourless inspect repellent will be a good idea as well.

6) Can I camp in my own tent?
You can get your own tent if you have one. There are three tent bases that can acommodate 6 persons each. PLEASE INFORM US IN ADVANCE IF YOU PLAN TO BRING YOUR TENT.

7) How will the weather be there right now?
February is the month when the temperatures start to rise in this area. The day temperature will be around 33 degrees.

8) What should I wear?
Please wear full sleeved shirts preferably earth or dry grass coloured. Wear full pants and comfortable shoes. The soil here has pebbles, hence please avoid high heeled shoes. Dark/ dull coloured sneakers should be fine.

9) How much do I need to walk?
The census might involve walking over 5 km in a day in hot conditions. Those who are able to withstand this physical activity are encouraged to apply.

10) Where is the venue? How and when should I reach it?
Venue of the census is Forest Quarters, Jayamangali Conservation Reserve. Details on how to reach the venue along with a printable map are available at: http://maidenahalli.googlepages.com/go .

Please reach the area by 5 pm on Saturday 21 Feb.

12) Can I reach the venue by bus?
No. The conservation reserve is not accessible by public or private transport.

13) I am coming from Bengaluru/ Tumkur, I do not have a car or bike. Can you provide me transportation?
Please note that we have NOT made any arrangements to travel to the venue, as we do not have the resources to do so.

14) I am coming from Bengaluru/ Tumkur, I do not have a car or bike. Can you let me know if any other participant/ any body else can provide me transportation?
A couple of the participants who happen to run an adventure organisation, 'X-Trails' have come forward to transport other participants from Bengaluru to the venue. Please contact Mr.Omer Khaiser or Mr.Prasad at omer.kaiser@gmail.com OR 98450 19200

DISCLAIMER: WANC OR KARNATAKA FOREST DEPARTMENT DO NOT OFFICIALLY ENDORSE THIS. PLEASE SPEAK DIRECTLY AND DO YOUR RESEARCH OF X-TRAILS OR THE PERSONS BEHIND THEM, BEFORE GETTING INTO ANY FINANCIAL DEAL.

The other option is to pool with friends and arrange your own transportation.

15) Is first aid available at the venue?
Basic first aid in the form of dettol and band-aid is available in case of very minor injuries. But it is suggested that the participants carry their own small first aid kid for common ailments and injuries. We are trying to arrange for a resident doctor, how ever this is not guaranteed. The nearest medical aid is available at Kodigenahalli village along Hindupur - Madhugiri highway, 11 km from the venue. The nearest hospitals with admission facilities are either at Madhugiri and Hindupura towns, around 20 - 25 km from the venue.

16) Can I carry a cell phone?
We encourage you to bring your cell phone. Please note that the points for recharging cell phones at the venue are limited and the electric power supply is erratic. You are requested to bring a fully charged spare battery for your cell phone, if you have one.

17) What cell phone network is available in the area?
All the major cell phones have network coverage in the area including Airtel and BSNL. Since this is a remote area, BSNL is supposed to have a wider coverage. Also please note that, since this area borders Andhra Pradesh, you might be charged for roaming, even though you might technically be inside Karnataka boundaries.

18) Whom should I contact, if I need more information?
Please contact either of the following:
TVN Murthy, Honorary Wildlife Warden, Tumkur District at tvnmurthy AT vsnl.com (Mobile: 94480 73129)
Ameen Ahmed tumkurameen At gmail.com (99808 32814)