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Chinkara sanctuary notified in Tumakuru district

The state government on Thursday notified the second Chinkara Wildlife Sanctuary at Bukkapatna in Sira taluk of Tumakuru district.

Conserving the rare Indian gazelle or Chinkara species in the southernmost part of India, the state government on Thursday notified the formation of second Chinkara Wildlife Sanctuary at Bukkapatna near Sira in Tumakuru district.

The latest sanctuary at Bukkapatna is the second Chinkara (Gazelle bennetti) sanctuary in Karnataka after notifying a similar sanctuary at Yadahalli in Bagalkot district of North Karnataka in 2016. The notification, according to experts in the field of conservation, attests that Bukkapatna is the southernmost limit of the distribution range of Chinkara species in India.

Even though the first sanctuary was notified at Yadahalli, according to sources, the latest sanctuary at Bukkapatna — 150 km from Bengaluru, is the largest with 148.45 sq km of area (about 37,000 acres). Karnataka was known to be home to 3 species out of the 6 species of antelopes in India including black bucks, four-horned antelope and Chinkaras.

Three antelope species

While the first two have been widely documented, Chinkaras were hardly documented. But, Bukkapatna forest area has all the three antelope species and perhaps the only documented place in Karnataka for all the three antelope species. Bukkapatna has one of the finest woodland savanna habitats with dispersed tree growth amidst fine grasslands.

The presence of Chinkaras in large number at Bukkapatna was documented by wildlife biologist Sanjay Gubbi of Nature Conservation Foundation and his team of researchers Harish N S, Poornesha H C, Sandesha, Ashwin George and others while documenting and camera-trapping for leopards.

Proposal approved

Further, Gubbi had proposed and followed up with the state government to notify the Reserve forests at Bukkapatna, Mattikere and state forests at Muttagadahalli and Suvarnamukhi as Chinkara Wildlife Sanctuary. Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy-led State Board for Wildlife had approved the proposal on 9th January this year. 

Reacting over the government’s notification Sanjay Gubbi told DH that he and his team are thankful to the state government, forest officers and elected representatives of the area for their wholehearted support.

“Our scientific estimate shows that there are about 80 Chinkaras in Bukkapatna and perhaps the largest population in the state. Hopefully, the species will now be protected against poaching, habitat loss and other threats,” he said.

Chinkara survives in these dry habitats and does not require much water for their survival. They get their moisture from dew, eating vegetation, fruits and other similar sources. Hence we need to be careful that we don't develop water harvesting structures in this area.

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