One of the common antelopes, blackbucks (Antelope cervicapra) were once distributed on plateaus to the east of the Banjar river passing through the Baihar tehsil, and in several valley villages in the Kanha landscape. Till a few years back, even the core zone also supported a small population of the antelope. The population, however, had declined steadily since 1975, and the last animal was seen in 2004. The local extinction of the blackbuck from Kanha was regarded as a blow to biodiversity, and the Kanha management decided to give it a try and reintroduce some animals into extensive areas ofshort grass with low density of shrub and woody species, which would serve as good rehabilitation sites for the blackbuck in the core. Some of these sites are: Matigahan,Yusufdadar, Silpura, Mundidadar, Deoridadar,Adwardadar and Dulhadadar. The Kanha management planned the entire capture operation with a retired forest officer, credited with successful translocation of about 7000 blackbucks in Andhra Pradesh. The select field staff of the tiger reserve was also trained for the entire operation of capture and translocation. Special wooden crates were made to safely shut individual animals for transportation. In November 2011, the entire operation was carried out in bamboo bushes and agricultural fields at village Karirat,close to Seoni town. Instead of releasing the blackbucks straight into the wild, they were kept in an enclosure at Kanha. The idea was to keep them under observation/ monitoring for any health eventuality and also to let them get acclimatized to the new environs. In this case the basic objective of this translocation exercise was to build up a population in Kanha and not just to trans locate the crop raiding animals. To achieve this objective, the released animals needed to be monitored on daily basis and this was possible only in an enclosure. The in-situ enclosure was specially erected and developed for the multiplication of barasingha. The release site was also prepared for the blackbucks well before the actual release.In the past also, this enclosure had already supported a small population of blackbuck for some years. The area of the enclosure was around 50 hectare and it naturally harbored typical grassland habitats of the core with a range of grass species. Most of the enclosure area supports short to medium height grass species. Some animals, however, also died due to capture myopathy.
The initial release of 27 blackbucks in the Kanha core zone, all of them being the offspring’s of the original antelopes brought from Seoni.
Currently, these Blackbucks along with the Barasingha’s can be easily viewed lazing & grazing in the Kanha meadows, a sheer delight for the tourists and photographers.
Tigers, Barasingha, Cheetal, Blackbucks, Leopards, Sloth Bear as well as all the other animals are protected by law in Kanha National Park.