About 80 blackbucks drowned at the Tal Chhapar Wildlife Sanctuary on Sunday night, following a heavy thunderstorm and unexpected flooding.
In all, about 130 deer of different species were killed.
The sanctuary, on the edge of the Thar desert, spread over 720 hectares in Rajasthan’s Churu district, 210 km northwest of Jaipur, is famed for its blackbucks, numbering around 2,000.
But in the absence of proper drainage and adequate precautions by forest officials, a single night’s heavy rain wrought havoc among them.
“The rain was too heavy,” said Sumair Singh Punia, district forest officer. “The sanctuary practically turned into a lake.
It was mainly the elderly and baby deer that could not rush to safety in time.”
Rescue operations were hampered by continuing rain on Monday. “We’ve called in a team of veterinary doctors and animals that were injured are beaing treated,” Punia said.
“There is much more we can do,” said K.K. Pathak, Churu’s Collector. “There should be a shelter on high ground where animals can rush to. The place should also have better lighting at night.”
The blackbuck is an endangered species under India's Wildlife Protection Act.