Volume : 2, Issue : 2, NOV 2018

FORAGE AND FEEDING ECOLOGY OF INDIAN ANTELOPE OR BLACKBUCK (ANTILOPE CERVICAPRA. Linn 1780) IN GANJAM DISTRICT, SOUTH ODISHA, EASTERN INIDA

Udaya Kumar Das, Sudhakar Kar, Saroj Kumar Pattnaik

Abstract

The foraging pattern of blackbuck was studied in research project during the Feb-1998 to March 2005 in Balipadar- Bhetnoi blackbuck reserve, Ganjam district, southern Odisha, India. The seasonal variation in natural vegetation abundance especially in herbs, shrubs and low height scrubs and trees are greatly marked. The topography of the study area is undulated with cultivated croplands, pastures and highland scrubs ranging from 20mts to 100 mts MSL elevations. The district receives rainfall of 1551.6mm in interior to 1148.6mm of rainfall in the coastal area. But the area shows severe dryness and most of the habitat behaves semi-arid conditions during the summer season. The animal did movement in greater area in search of forage and water. Cropping pattern also provide good quality of forage to blackbuck and caused population fluctuation and group sizes. The overall dryness during summer   causes in shrinkage of forage grounds.  However, the tree vegetation scattered in cropland habitat provide shade and cooling to the animals as well as provides forage in the form of leaf, flower, and fruits.  The population in the reserve site in Ghumusur south forest division exceeds 4000 animals. The local people do not harm to the beautiful and harmless animal. They protect blackbuck in a socio- religiously and conserving century ago.

Keywords

foraging, blackbuck, shrinkage in habitat, vegetation, shade, cropping pattern, conservation.

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