Near Aska in Ganjam district in Odisha is the only place where the Blackbucks exist within human habitat. People of the area have been protecting the blackbuck since the last several years because they consider the animals to be the harbinger of good luck. "People of the area protect the animal due to religious sentiments and poaching is almost nil.Locally known as Krushna Mruga, the Black Buck is a schedule – I animal as per Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Bhetnoi is about 71 km from Berhampur, the southern Odisha trade town and about 105 km from Godwit Eco Cottage, Mangalajodi, Tangi. Bhetnoi and adjoining aears are famous for Black Bucks. The unique method of protection of Black Bucks by the local people has made this area famous and well organized cohabitation of man and animal.
Black Bucks ( Antelope cervicapra) are locally known as Bali Harina, Krushnasara Mruga and Kala Bahutia. The last two names are based on the black colour of these animals although only the males of the species exhibit this colour while the females have a brownish complexion.
Black Bucks in Bhetnoi - Balipadar (near Aska) and adjoining areas are protected by the villagers for more than half a century. The villagers have formed Black Buck protection committee and this community protection of Black Bucks speaks itself a successful story. Considering the population concentration, the community protection of Black Buck in Bhetnoi – Balipadar is second to Visatpur (in Gujrat) where these wild animals are being protected by the people of Bisnoi Community. The main common reason of success in conservation is the religious faith that these wild animals are sacred animals and they are linked to Lord Ram and Krishna.
The Blackbucks of Balipadar-Bhetnoi areas are protected socio-religiously by the local. As the legend goes since a century ago, there had a long spell of drought in the locality making the lives of the locality miserable. During this long spell of drought, a small group of Blackbuck appeared in the area and then there was rain. Appearance of Black Buck in the region and coincidence rain fall brought a belief in the minds of the local people that because of their appearance there was rain. Since then the local people are protecting these animals as they feel that their fate is linked with these Blackbuck. During 1918, a Britisher known as "Green Saheb" and the 'Sardar' of the locality Sri Madeshi Chandramani Dora took initiative for protection of this species and published a notification in the Oriya news paper "Prajamitra" prohibiting killing of the Blackbuck.
Golia (Buguda Block, Ganjam district) is nearby village of Bhetnoi which is famous for conservation of fresh water tortoise. There is a pond measuring an area of about 3 acres known as Nila Pokhari (Blue coloured pond) in this village. There are around 300 turtles in this pond. The villagers consider these reptiles sacred and established an intimate relationship with them. They never agreed to its killing for meat because of their religious belief (which says that the Divine had a Kurma Avatar in the evolutional history of creation, implying to the transitional phase between aquatic life and life on land) and traditional values and that is how the Nila Pokhari of Goila remained as a safe haven for these creatures for more than hundred years since their arrival in the village.
Legend has it that labourers who carried large pieces of stone to be used in the construction of the famous Jagannath temple at Puri, later turned into turtles and lived this reptilian life in the Indradyumna Pokhari at Puri. A few centuries ago, one Shri D Venkata Rao Dora of this village visited Puri. Dora, who was a very strong man, suddenly found the King's elephant behaving like a rogue and no body was able to control the elephant. Dora intervened and managed to avoid a great danger by getting hold of the tail of the animal. When the King wanted to reward him, he just wished to take away with him a few turtles from the Indradyumna pokhari. After his return to Golia, he left the turtles in the Nila Pokhari. This is how Golia became the second place in Orissa after Puri to have these fresh water turtles.