Blackbuck, also known as Indian Antelope is one of the endangered species, are found in Indian subcontinent and Nepal.Once #blackbuck was found all over the subcontinent, was reported to be 80000 during 1947 had depleted to 8000 in 1964.The beautiful animal has a distinct colour that differ among sexes.The male are dark black and female are reddish brown with white underparts on both sexes.Male with long curly horns often found in a group of 5-50.Said to be only surviving member of Antelope family are still available in places though in small numbers.One such place is the Sorodo Village in the Ganjam district of Odisha,India.
While travelling by road at places the “drive slow,” caution boards near Aska town rose my curiosity to see them.After Googling on Blackbucks and checking with villagers nearby ,I came to know about the fact of endangered status of the species and also about the conservation of them by the villagers of Sorodo.Also said to be in plenty near Bhetnoi village about 10 kms away from Sorodo.In fact the entire plains of the area is inhabitated by these Anelopes.
On 19th Dec 2021, early morning with one of my friend we started from Berhampur to Sorodo village.Sorodo village is around 60 Kms from Berhampur via Aska.Road was good and we reached at Sorodo village at around 8 AM.One of the villager Mr.Vinayak who we had contacted to guide us was waiting at the village and he took us to the out skirts of the village to see the Blackbucks.It was cold winter and weather too was bit cloudy.My Nikon D500 camera was asking for more ISO and suddenly I saw one well grown male, dark black in colour was sitting alone at a distance of 50 MTR away from the main road. i stopped my car and zoomed my camera to take snaps.He looked at me and posed for some snaps before running into the bushes nearby.Another group of Balckbucks and then many other small groups at a distance of around 200 mts.
I asked Vinayak..how much close we can reach to them…in the afternoon they come very close to village, he told.Even the villagers have made a grass land for them to graze.But do they poach them I asked.Never..he told.Blackbucks are destroying the crops but villagers never kill them.And this is the reason, the number is still good at this area for this endangered species.Sometimes they find calfs which they carefully handover to forest department.The main predators are the dogs from the village.Sometime the dogs hunt them for food.The villagers are their protectors and have set an example of Human-Nature co-existence.
One can reach to this village by road from Aska or Bhanjanagar.Best time to see them is early morning and around 4 PM.