Bhubaneswar: Two weeks after extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani ravaged the Balukhand-Konark Wildlife sanctuary in Puri district, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) Ajay Mohapatra Thursday said that Odisha Forest and Environment Department is planning a series of measures to restore normalcy in the famed sanctuary.
To begin with, it plans to set up artificial sheds to protect the deer from scorching sun since the ravaged forest cover is highly inadequate after the storm.
It also plans to setup artificial water bodies in the forest to provide water to the animals living in this habitat. Mohapatra said the artificial water bodies would be filled at regular intervals by water tankers till the rainy season sets in.
This apart, a massive plantation drive will be taken up to restore the forest cover to protect and conserve the spotted deer in the sanctuary that spreads over an area of 72 sqkm is home to more than 4,000 spotted deer.
It may be mentioned here that the officials were on their toes as the spotted deer went missing after the cyclone and their carcasses were also not found anywhere even more than a week after the cyclone. They heaved a sigh of relief after two to three herds of deer were seen in camera trap and subsequently by drone cameras surveillance of the sanctuary.
In a related note, the PCCF said that the Department has planned to buy 50 acres of land in Aska in Ganjam district to cultivate crop to feed the blackbucks. Initially it would be done on a pilot basis on one acre of land and later more acres of land would be brought under it, he said.
Black bucks have been declared ‘endangered’ under the Wildlife Protection Act. They are found in large number in Bhetanoi-Balipadar areas close to Aska in Ganjam district.