Berhampur: The United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) has approved a pilot project for
community protection of endangered blackbuck and Olive Ridley
turtles in Orissa`s Ganjam district.
Under the project, the state will get around Rs 50
lakh this year for improvement of the habitats of the marine
creatures and development of infrastructure in surrounding
villages, where the people actively involve in protecting
them, Chief Conservator of Forests, S S Srivastav said today.
The state government had submitted a Rs one crore
proposal to the UNDP for implementation of the pilot project.
Blackbucks roam a 64 sq km area in Balipadar-Vetanai
area with inhabitants of nearby villagers giving them
protection because of religious sentiment with their
Thousands of Olive Ridley turtles visit Rushikulya
river mouth in the district every year for mass nesting and
are protected by local people as well as fishermen.
The number of blackbucks was 1672 in 2008 comprising
411 male, 1123 females and 138 young, Amulya Upadhya,
president of the Blackbuck Protection Committee said.
"As the communities are actively involved in these two
areas, we decided to implement the UNDP assisted CBC project
in two places," he said.
Besides the improvement of habitats, it was also
proposed to develop eco-tourism facilities, training and
awareness programmes in both places. It was also proposed
to construct a rehabilitation center at Bhetanai, near Aska
for rescued injured blackbucks.