Nashik: You cannot miss the cute, little animal. She moves round the village, in a care-free manner, without fear of poachers. For the past few months, a blackbuck has made Mamdapur village of Yeola tehsil in Nashik district her home.
And the villagers zealously guard the blackbuck like any other pets. They feed the animal and keep a watch on its activities, lest the deer strays out of the hamlet. “Blackbucks are easy targets for poachers and the villagers ensure that the deer is always around,” said social worker Prakash Gudaghe.
Blackbucks are routinely poached in and around the area. One such case was reported in 2009. It was the villagers who caught the poacher and handed him over to the police.
So, how did the deer land up in the village? Yeola tehsil is a drought-prone region and wild animals and birds come here in search of water. This deer came to the village a year back and has stayed put ever since. Farmers feed the animal and have even built a small tank for the blackbuck. At night, the deer returns to its flock in the nearby forest.
Yeola has around 12,500 hectares of forest land while the Mamdapur Conservatory Reserve stretches over 5,500 hectares. The forest is home to over a thousand blackbucks according to forest officer Ashok Kale.
Kale said blackbuck numbers in the region are increasing due to the conservation efforts of the government, which includes building water holes and strict patrolling.
Mamdapur sarpanch Gorakh Vaidya said villagers are used to seeing blackbucks and this particular one has become a part of the village family. “Even the stray dogs don’t harass this deer. Mamdapur village has 534 families,” he said.