Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Maharashtra's Rajapur Forest Experiences 20% Increase in Deer and Blackbuck Populations in Two Years

Spotted deer nursing

The Rajapur forest belt located 104 kilometers from the Maharashtri town of Yeola has seen a 20 percent increase in its blackbuck and deer populations in the past two years. Forest officials indicated that plantation and plentiful water in waterholes have resulted in the populations' growth. They further added that they have set up the first solar panel in Nashik district, which is used to fill the waterholes from a 180-foot deep bore well. Forester Arjun Bhalerao indicated that the panel was set up six months ago to provide electricity to five villages which are included in the forest belt: Deodari, Kharwandi, Mamdapur, Rajapur, and Somthane. Each village has a certain number of waterholes. For example, Rajapur, Kharwandi, and Deodari have two waterholes while Somthane has three and Mamdapur has four. The waterholes are filled using solar power throughout the year, except during summer when tankers are used to fill them. Forest officials also rejected the chance of poaching in the forest belt, pointing out that forest guards keep watch and that villagers are also cooperative. However, the forest department is facing staff crunch where there is one forester, three guards, and six laborers for the belt which is situated on 4,500 hectares of land. Forest employees said that enlistments need to be done soon as senior staff members go into retirement.

It is wonderful to see how the deer and blackbuck populations are successfully thriving in a forest belt thanks to a great deal of commitment provided by the forest department to ensure that the animals coexist peacefully with villagers. For example, the practice of plantation has steered blackbucks away from destroying the villagers' crops and the forest department did not receive any complaints in the recent past. Furthermore, the installment of a solar panel has promised accessibility to water for the animals thus allowing their populations to increase. But what is truly amazing is how the forest officials and villagers have been maintaining a strong partnership in looking out for any poaching activities in the forest belt. This indicates why there has not been any possibility of poaching in the area. It is essential that villagers and forest officials across India should establish such a partnership, in order to combat poaching which threatens the nation's wildlife. The key to fighting such an ongoing atrocity is a joint partnership between the professionals and local people who are familiar with the area where wildlife resides. That is, villagers can help by providing helpful tips to forest guards where the poachers were last seen, what direction(s) they were headed, and other vital information. The partnership seen between the forest guards and villagers living in the vicinity of the Rajapur forest belt is an ideal example why poaching has not occurred in recent times. In other parts of India, the situation is different and that is why it is crucial that forest officials and villagers should follow the example of their counterparts in the Rajapur forest belt in order to combat the threat of poaching.

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