Endangered animal blue bull faces extinction in Nepal

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The extremely endangered animal species, blue bull inhabiting the "sacred" forest of Lumbini in southern Nepal is on the verge of extinction due to poaching and poisoning, local media reported on Thursday.

Blue bull, the largest of Asian antelopes, lives in the area of India, Nepal and Pakistan. [File Photo]

Blue bull, the largest of Asian antelopes, lives in the area of India, Nepal and Pakistan. [File Photo]

According to eKantipur.com report, over the last three years, the blue bull population has dwindled alarmingly. "There were more than 200 blue bulls during the first census in 2007. Now, only 35 are left," said Conservation Officer Sunil Dahal at the Lumbini Development Trust.

Blue bulls, the largest of Asian antelopes, prefer living in groups. "Now there are only three groups whereas there were 18 in 2007," Dahal said.

Statistics from the Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation show the total population of blue bulls in Nepal is around 200 and the small forest area in Lumbini is one of the few remaining sites where these endangered animals can be traced. Bardiya National Park and Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve are two other areas where blue bulls live.

Local conservationists blame poaching and poisoning for the rapid decline in the blue bulls population. "Blue bulls are poached for their savory meat and their medicinal value," he said.

The forest's adjoining villages, officials say, are a major threat to the animal. "No sooner do the animals get out of the forest than locals either hunt or poison them," said Dahal. "To control this, we have started fencing the forest. The project will be completed next year."

According to blue bull research expert Top Khatri, "The number is decreasing dramatically due to lack of conservation and rampant poaching. If the authorities do not get serious, this endangered animal may just go extinct from Nepal."

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