10 blackbucks found dead in Maharashtra’s Buldhana district, poisoning suspected
Ten blackbuck were found dead on Saturday in Shivara locality of Tadora Budruk forest range, Buldhana district.
The incident came to light after some residents informed forest department officials about a few dead deer in the area, located among a large swathe of farmlands at the southern edges of the Satpura range — a preferred habitat of blackbuck that extends all the way to Buldhana, Akola and Amravati districts.
A survey by officials then revealed that the fatalities included six female and four male blackbuck. In a statement late on Saturday, the forest department said that it was in the process of conducting autopsies and that the animals were suspected to have been poisoned.
“This is not a new situation. We have seen it before but such a large group of blackbuck deaths is quite unusual. Local farmers could have poisoned the animals as they are a major threat to crops,” said a forest department official who did not wish to be identified. The official added that two of the dead blackbuck were pregnant.
“The deers have been necropsied at this time. After the post-mortem of the animals, the body parts will be collected and the samples will be sealed and sent to the forensic laboratory for examination,” the forest department’s statement said.
Experts and environmentalists, too, described the event as unusual, given the number of animals that seemingly died in a single instance.
“This incident certainly warrants further investigation by the forest department. The Satpura range is an important corridor route from Umbardev to Kuvardev in the taluka, and is currently suffering from a range of anthropogenic stress by way of deforestation, illegal grazing, quarrying and so on. Habitat fragmentation and loss of open grasslands have inevitably pushed blackbuck into farms in conflict with farmers,” said environmentalist Ashwin Rajput.