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Lost in transportation

KOLKATA, 19 AUG: While six out of 25 deer died when they were being relocated to Dobanki camp in the Sunderbans from Parmadan Deer Park in North 24-Parganas, three more were killed following a fight among themselves at the Parmadan Park today.
The deer were being taken from Parmadan to Dobanki to get them acclimatised with forest conditions, before releasing them in the Sunderbans. Mr AK Raha, principal chief conservator of forests, said: “Deer are being relocated from parks, sanctuaries and zoos for the last 10-15 years and about 20 per cent casualty during the process is acceptable.” He said that in case of spotted deer the casualty is more because of over-excitement in the herd. Out of 25 full-grown spotted deer, 12 were bucks and 13 were does.
Mr Raha said that it was quite hot yesterday and the wheels of one of the trucks carrying them had got stuck in mud in the Sunderbans which delayed their release in Dobanki for four to five hours. The deer may have died because of stress and strain. The rest are healthy and will have a health check up at the Dobanki camp. One of the reasons to release deer in the Sunderbans is to maintain the tiger prey base there.
Mr Biswajit Roychowdhury, a member of the state wildlife advisory board, said that the deer
are not used to the estuarine environment in the Sunderbans
and he doubted whether full-grown deer can acclimatise with the conditions and be able to breed soon.
The director of Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve, Mr Pradeep Vyas, said that spotted deer are among the species that are found naturally in the Sunderbans and will not take very long to adapt to the environment. “The forest department had been feeding the deer artificially at the Parmadan Park. If needed, we will do the same in Dobanki. They will be kept in the camp till they have adapted completely to the environment,” said Mr Vyas. The Parmadan Park has enough space for a population of 150 deer but according to the 2010 census, currently there are 450. If sanctuaries become overcrowded, there might be incidents of epidemics, infections and in-fighting and the casualties could be much more, he said.

Soma Basu

Soma Basu

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