Endangered black bucks have been spotted for the first time in Kota’s Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve (MHTR), indicating congenial conditions of growing prey base in the reserve ahead of first Tiger’s release by the year-end.
Assistant conservator of forest, MHTR, Kota, Jodhraj Singh Hada told HT that he and the forest staff of MHTR have seen a group of around 50-to-60 black bucks in Sawanbhado, Data and nearby belts within the buffer zone of MHTR.
Hada said he has remained posted in MHTR in the past as well but he has never seen black bucks in the MHTR as black bucks usually resides in grasslands and agricultural fields and not dense forests.
“The black bucks sighted inside MHTR appears to have migrated from the nearby agricultural fields of the villages of Kanvas region,” he said.
Giving reason behind arrival of the black bucks in the MHTR, Hada said earlier sheep breeders used to pass through the MHTR with their 1 lakh sheep during sheep migration period in monsoon every year while cattle breeders used to do cattle camp with their cattle in the forests of the MHTR till 2-3 years ago but prohibition on such sheep exodus and cattle camps from last couple of years after formation of MHTR have reduced human interference and also reduced pressure of grazing on the forests.
“Discontinuation of the cattle camps and sheep exodus have flourished grasslands and greenery in the MHTR which seems to have lured black bucks towards the Tiger Reserve,” he said.
Arrival of black bucks in MHTR is a great sign in the direction of consolidation of prey base in MHTR prior proposed tiger reintroduction by this yearend, he said.
The migration of black bucks from agricultural fields to forests of MHTR will certainly also provide relief to the villagers who were troubled due to the onslaught of their crops by the black bucks, he said.
MHTR had around 400 spotted deer and 100 sambhar in the past whose number were increased after recent release of ungulates in MHTR who were brought from different forest areas of Rajasthan.
Around 250 ungulates including mostly spotted deer and sambhar have been released in MHTR in the last few months time.
Abdul Haneef Zaidi of Hadauti Naturalists Society told that spotted deer and sambhar were seen in MHTR so certainly it will be the first time when black bucks are seen in MHTR.
MHTR is the third tiger reserve of Rajasthan announced in the year 2013 by joining wildlife sanctuaries of Kota region including Dara Wildlife sanctuary of Kota, Jawahar Sagar Sanctuary of Bundi, Chambal Ghariyal Sanctuary of Kota and Bundi districtsand some forest blocks of Chittorgarh district.
MHTR is spread in around 759.99 square km area including 417.17 square km of core area and around 342.82 square km buffer area.
At present, there is no tiger in MHTR but the forest department is planning to release a tiger in MHTR by December.