Cyclone Phailin has not just taken a toll on human beings, at least five blackbucks — an endangered species of antelope — were also killed as the storm battered Odisha on October 12.
Blackbucks are among the three species of antelopes found in Odisha, the others being Nilgai and Chowsingha. The blackbuck population has dwindled to an extent that it is now listed in Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection Act along with the tiger. It also finds a place in the red data list published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
“Barely 1,500 blackbucks can be found in coastal Odisha and their total population in India will not be more than 20,000. Five killed is a great loss,” Biswajit Mohanty, director of Odisha Wildlife Society, told HT.
Also found in the coastal districts ravaged by the cyclone, elephants and Olive Ridley turtles were reportedly safe. Experts said this was not the nesting time for Olive Ridley turtles and so all of them are safe in sea.
According to NGOs working with animals, there was a heavy loss of livestock. “Livestock forms an important part of the local economy, which would suffer as a result of so many animals dying in the cyclone,” said Radhika Bhagat, head, Wild Aid division of the International Fund for Animal Welfare - Wildlife Trust of India.