Blackbuck and turtle protection programme begin

"The local people of the habitat areas of these species are actively involved for their protection, UNDP hasselected the areas in Orissa and Madhya Pradesh to implementthe project on a pilot basis� said the programme analyst,"energy and environment unit of UNDP-India P Krishnan said. ���

Hoards of blackbucks are roaming in 64 sq km inBalipadar-Vetanai area of Ganjam district, where the nearbyvillagers give protection to the animals, while thousands ofOlive Ridley turtles visit the Rushikulya river mouth in thedistrict, every year for mass nesting. Local fishermen arefound involved in protection of both the mother turtles aswell as their babies.

The people of the local area used to protect theblackbuck, despite destruction of their standing crops onreligious sentiments. The population of the blackbucks hasincreased.

The number of blackbucks in the area was 1672 countedin the area in 2008. They include 411 male, 1123 females and138 young, informed chief conservator of forest (wildlife) SSSrivastav. �

Similarly, the local fishermen also protect OliveRidley turtles when they visit shore for mass nesting nearRushikulya mouth. Gokharakuda to Purunabandh area near theriver mouth is one of the three mass nesting sites of Oliveridley off Orissa cost.�

Besides the improvement of habitats, it is alsoproposed to develop the eco-tourism facilities, training andawareness programmes in both the places. It was also proposedto construct a rehabilitation centre at Bhetanai, near Aska torescue the injured blackbucks.

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