Five Sambar deer already shifted; cage-acclimatisation process begins
Mysore/Mysuru: After successfully translocating over 52 spotted deer to Arabithittu Reserve Forests and Wildlife Sanctuary on Hunsur Road, moving over 13 Indian Gaur to the Tyavarekoppa Tiger and Lion Safari in Shivamogga and translocating a giraffe to the Bannerghatta Biological Park in Bengaluru, Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens (Mysuru Zoo) has embarked on a task to translocate surplus Sambar deer and spotted deer to Dandeli Forests in Uttara Kannada.
Already five Sambar deer — three female and two male —have been translocated to Dandeli and they have adjusted to the new place.
The process of shifting spotted deer has begun and as the first stage, the cage or custom-built container in which the deer will travel over 500 kms from Mysuru to Dandeli by road has been placed inside the deer enclosure for acclimatisation.
Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) Member-Secretary and Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests B.P. Ravi told SOM this morning that they call the shifting process as a ‘soft release’ where the cage is placed in the animal enclosure for over two months for acclimatisation.
“The animals are being familiarised with the special enclosure and care is being taken so that the animal does not panic inside the cage while it is being transported. The staff that is familiarising the animal with the cage have similar experience of transporting animals through road in the past. Green fodder and food are kept inside the cages so that the animal goes inside it and acclimatises,” he said.
The 52 spotted deer that have been shifted to the Arabithittu Reserve Forest and Wildlife Sanctuary in 2019 are doing good and their population has multiplied to over 150 now. As the population of herbivore animals have increased, the population of leopards have also seen an uptick. Also, two packs of wild dogs have migrated to Arabithittu from the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve,” he said.
With the arrival of both herbivore and prey animals, the biodiversity of Arabithittu is becoming rich and earlier it was a dry area, Ravi said. “As per the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) guidelines, a Zoo can have 30-40 deer. Here we have more and the enclosures are overcrowded. Over 30 Sambar deer and 40 spotted deer will be translocated in the due course. Compared to the enclosure-living here, the animals will adjust to the forest surroundings at Dandeli,” he added.
This morning, ZAK Chairman Shivakumar took media persons to the deer and Sambar deer enclosures and explained the process involved in the shifting. Each custom-built cage can hold over five to six Sambar deer as they are big in size and seven to eight spotted deer. As of now, two containers have been placed inside the enclosures for acclimatisation.
“The approval has been taken from the ZAK and CZA and the shifting will be done in stages. Officers and field staff have visited Dandeli and have studied the forest landscape there and have found that the deer population can thrive there. There is a good number of predators too and will make a healthy biodiversity,” he said.