POPULATION TENDENCIES OF BLACKBUCK ANTILOPE CERVICAPRA IN FOUR CONSECUTIVE YEARS AT BASUR AMRUTH MAHAL KAVAL BLACKBUCK CONSERVATION RESERVE, KARNATAKA, INDIAVinay Kumar C.and Vijaya Kumara
This study was carried out to ascertain the status and trends of blackbuck population (Nt) in four consecutive years from 2017 to 2020 and to investigate the causative factors taking away their livelihood in a fragile and dynamic habitat of Basur Amruth Mahal Kaval Blackbuck Conservation Reserve with an area of 7.36 km2. Our results emerged with population changes (Nt) with total of 238, 262, 277 and 296 individuals in each year respectively displaying steady state increase. Adult females increased from 136 to 189 whereas adult males (59-60) showed near stable numbers prior to increased predation chances at the habitat edges between open grassland and tall bushes where fawns might be rarely detected. The population density (ïDp= 32.336 to 40.217 individuals per sq. km) showed gradual increasing trend. The dwindling blackbuck population prefers open grassland habitat with less fragmentation forces and avoid thick and tall vegetations. Population estimations of blackbuck using line transect methods in these areas with mixed vegetations containing tall shrubs (Prosopis juliflora, Dodonaeaviscosa) probably lead to biased detections. Habitat fragmentation, reduced grassland area due to invasive growth of weeds including Barleriamysorensis, overgrazing and poaching activities are the timeline issues of conservation in this area.