Think of blackbucks and you are most likely to think of the Velavadar National Park in Bhavnagar. But few in the city know that this beautiful species can be found closer to Ahmedabad.
The Centre for Environment Education (CEE) organised a field trip for children and nature lovers to give them an opportunity to have a close look at the animals in their natural surroundings.
A large population of blackbucks has made Kanayri village in Kadi taluka their home. Interestingly, the area is a few kilometers away from the popular Thol Bird Sanctuary. Many of the visitors on the field trip admitted that they had never known of the presence of the animals here despite visiting Thol sanctuary often.
“I visit Thol almost every weekend yet never knew that a village close to the sanctuary also hosted the blackbucks. I decided to join the trip just to know where exactly it was,” said Bina Solanki, a participant.
Bankim Desai, a graphic design artist and photography enthusiast said that he had heard of the presence of blackbucks here but had never bothered to visit earlier. “I knew of it as I had heard about this place from a friend. But I could never get the time to come. Hence, I decided to join the trip. Now, I plan to come here again and get good shots up and close,” said Desai.
Chintan Purohit of CEE said that though the organisation had been organising field trips across the state, it was for the first time that one aimed at spotting blackbucks close to Thol was initiated.
“Very few people even in Ahmedabad know of this place,” said Purohit.
Kandarp Kathju, who has closely studied the wildlife in Gujarat, said the relative obscurity of the place is also the reason why blackbucks have continued to survive here. “But threats remain particularly from feral dogs. In fact, in the absence of natural predators like cheetah, the job has been taken over by dogs.
Moreover, at present these blackbucks graze on private lands and the question remains how long will they get to do it given the rapid urbanisation,” said Kathju.