BAHAWALPUR: The pilot project of “Reintroduction of Black Bucks” in original habitat of Cholistan has proved a success.

The black buck has been an extinct species since 1967 in the desert around Fort Abbas area of Bahawalnagar district, says Bahawalpur Division Deputy Director Wildlife Zahid Ali.

He told Dawn that the project of re-introduction of black bucks had successfully been working with the support of the Pakistan Army and Desert Rangers.

The project was originally initiated on the move of army officials over a 12-acre enclosure in November 2019 in Cholistan desert near Khairpur Tamewali. A herd of 12 black bucks was kept, fed and nurtured and they increased to 16. In October 2020, he said, these bucks were shifted to Fort Abbas’ enclosure spreading over an area of 10km and having grazing fields, vegetation and three open water ponds where they would remain in natural habitat and captivity without the services of any keeper and hand-feeding delivery.

Earlier, the deputy director said these bucks were confined to a four-acre wide “pre-release pen” for a period of one and half a months so that the bucks could be accustomed to self-grazing on natural vegetation grown especially for them in the area.

He elaborated that the idea of providing the bucks ample opportunities of self-grazing and feeding was aimed at minimising their dependence on human feeding and instead promote their nourishment and breeding in the natural habitat instead of artificial captivity.

He said that 10km area was strictly prohibited from the poachers and illegal hunters as it was cordoned off and guarded with the deployment of the personnel of army and Rangers.

He expressed hope that in future the population and breeding of the black bucks would increase with the joint efforts of three state institutions and the desert would have ample black buck population.

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2021


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