[op-ed snap] Unintended consequences of human interference: Indian Blackbuck


Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Geographical presence of Indian Blackbucks in Indian States

Mains level: The newscard shows how conservation(through relocation) efforts of Indian Blackbucks have given positive results in not only India but also in foreign countries.


Indian Blackbuck: As a vulnerable species

  1. By some estimates, there were some four million blackbucks across the subcontinent right up to the early 1900s
  2. For centuries, hunting these beautiful beasts had been a favourite sport of local nobility
  3. At the moment of Indian independence, there were perhaps no more than 80,000 individuals in India, while populations in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal had all but vanished
  4. By the 1970s, the number had further plunged to about 22,000
  5. The exact numbers were, and still are, hard to come by

Relocation to texas: Increase in population

  1. Relocating plants and animals across continents and habitats is always a dangerous business
  2. But sometimes these relocations can prove strangely beneficial
  3. Consider the Indian blackbuck
  4. But by this point there was little doubt that the blackbuck was an extremely vulnerable creature in India
  5. Sometimes in 1930s and 1940s blackbucks from India were introduced in Texas for the first time
  6. A small population was imported into private ranches in Kerr County
  7. The population grew, periodically bolstered by imports, and by around 1979 there were just short of 10,000 blackbucks in Texas

Relocation efforts in other countries

  1. Texas had not been alone in this experiment
  2. Blackbucks had also been imported into South America and Australia
  3. While the Australian test appears to have failed, the blackbuck thrives in Argentina, where it lives in some of the most massive herds of its type anywhere on the planet
  4. Yet, somewhat remarkably, many estimates suggest that the US and Argentina together today account for a greater population of the animal than its native home in the Indian subcontinent

Data on population of Blackbucks in India is also encouraging

  1. Even as the animal thrived abroad, thanks to legislation in the 1970s and conservation efforts that followed, the population of the blackbuck in India has undergone a recovery
  2. The most recent estimate in an International Union for Conservation of Nature report suggests that there are at least 35,000 mature adult individuals in India