Bikaner, May 2 : Deer at a Tal Chhapar sanctuary in Bikaner are bearing the brunt of an acute water shortage, caused due to the bourgeoning salt units in the region.
Tal Chhapar sanctuary, located in Churu district of Rajasthan, is home to the most elegant Antelope in the country, "the Black Buck".
The habitat of about 2000 deer and the entire stretch of sanctuary is normally heavily flooded due to heavy rains, but with salt mining going on in an adjoining watershed area, the deer are faced with acute water shortage.
Today, due to the activities at the salt pan, water has stopped flowing in the region as the watershed plot has been given to salt traders for salt production. This has resulted in not only an acute shortage of water, but also downgraded fodder quality.
"Due to the salt production in the region, 46 plots were allotted on that very government land...as a result of which, water is not flowing in the large plain land. Besides, the second problem is the scarcity of land. Approximately four bighas of land are required for a black buck. We have 2000 deer here, so we require 8000 acres of land," said Suraj Singh, forest department official.
"Efforts are being made to increase the land of the sanctuary. About 50 hectares of plot was not under any usage, so the Government has started work to acquire that land," Singh added.
The area between the hillocks and the sanctuary constitutes the watershed area of the sanctuary.
During the monsoon, water used to flow down from the Gopal Pura hills to the plain land of the sanctuary, converting it into an overflowing pond, the sole water source for these deer.
108 -year old Tal chhapar is a small but rich wildlife sanctuary, which is situated on the way to a migratory passage of exotic birds. It is known for its enchanting natural beauty and unique and fragile ecosystem.
It boasts of a rich population of Black Bucks and thousands of beautiful migratory birds, especially the Harriers, who pass over the sanctuary during the month of September.