Berhampur: The wildlife wing of the forest department conducted a census of blackbucks in Ganjam district on Sunday, officials said.
Ganjam district is the only habitat of the majestic animal in Odisha.
Around 500 enumerators, divided into 110 units, counted the endangered species across three forest divisions of the district, namely Ghumusar South, Ghumusar North and Berhampur, they said.
Earlier, the census used to be conducted biannually. But the government decided to do it annually this year, an official said.
The enumeration was done through the direct sight method between 6 am and 12 noon.
In some places, counting went on till afternoon. Besides the forest staff, some local volunteers and wildlife enthusiasts also took part in the census, sources said.
Before conducting the census, training was imparted to the enumerators at Charimaili near Aska on Saturday.
The last blackbuck census in the district was conducted on February 28, 2020, and the endangered species population, locally called Krushnasara Murga or Bali Harina, was 6,875.
The population of the animal was estimated to be 4,082 in 2018.
Though the number of blackbuck population in the district, this time, would be known after compiling the enumeration reports, the divisional forest officer (DFO), Ghumusar South, Satya Narayan Behura, said it appeared that their population had also increased.
The blackbuck population might have increased this year, because of improvement in the habitat, the protection given by the local people, and the forest staff, he said.
The DFO, Berhampur, Amlan Patra, said the blackbuck population might have swelled in the division this time as they have sighted many animals during the exercise.