While human-wild animal conflict has begun even in metros due to deforestation, a village in Nashik has shown that it is possible for humans and wild animals to live in harmony.
Villagers of Mamdapur in Yeola tehsil of Nashik are hosting a deer of the blackbuck family since nearly a year. Social worker Prakash Gudaghe of Mamdapur village said that deer are very shy animals and run away if approached by humans.
"However in Mamdapur village, the deer are regular visitors for forage and water and the villagers oblige them. The villagers have earned the trust of these animals and this female deer regularly comes to the village during the day. Outsiders become excited after seeing the deer and click photos," he said.
Mamdapur sarpanch Gorakh Vaidya said that though there was a shortage of water in this drought region, the villagers offer water and vegetables to the deer. "Its antics are similar to any goat, which comes running when it sees any grass or water. Children generally harass animals but here they give even feed deer," he said.
Round Forest Officer Rajapur Range Mr Ashok Kale said that Yeola tehsil has 12500 hectares forest including 5500 hectares of the Mamdapur Conservatory Reserve (MCR) which was formed in 2014. The MCR has total 1042 blackbuck counted during the 10 May census. Other wildlife includes jackal, wolf, hyena, wild boar etc.
"The government's strict conservation policy has paid dividends for wild animals. Water arrangements like repairing existing ponds, artificial water holes has helped increase the wildlife population.
Range forest officer B Thakre monitors conservation seriously. The forest guards patrol the area and are helped by the villagers. Regular census is conducted after every three months. The last census was on 10 May and the next census will be in August.
Kale said that there are few predators in the area. Leopards cannot match the speed of the blackbuck, which can be taken down only by the cheetah, which is extinct here.