Deer at Dalma sanctuary
The deer enclosure at Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary’s Makulakocha, around 20km from Jamshedpur, has been keeping the stork busy.
The enclosure’s population of 40 cheetals, sambars and barking deer has gone up by four recently, bringing joy to the foresters. At least four more cheetal mothers were expecting, they claimed.
The sanctuary’s elephant population had also received a boost in May with three calves, which were spotted by villagers of Suklara, Kudlum and Deko, being born. Some other elephants are reportedly pregnant, said a forester.
Apart from this, the forest officials have also decided to release one barking deer, which they rescued from near a canal at Kanderbera village recently, into the sanctuary soon, thus bolstering the animal count there.
“We have decided to release the deer in the enclosure as we have no other option. The formalities regarding the same will be completed soon,” said Mangal Kacchap, range officer of the 192sqkm sanctuary. The one-month-old deer has been presently kept at the Dalma range officer’s residence at Mango.
Kacchap added that they were keeping a close watch on the diet of all the deer and sambars.
The range officer said that the animals in the deer enclosure were surviving on gourds and cucumbers, which were being grown in plenty, in and around Makulakocha.
“We started plantation of gourds and cucumbers on a plot just beside the enclosure. We are feeding the deer and four rescued elephants on the vegetables, since we have lots to spare,” he said.
In fact, the production of gourds and cucumbers has been so high this year that the Dalma officials have also been distributing them among tourists, villagers and its staff.
Meanwhile, the Ranchi wildlife division has also mooted plans to extend the area of the Dalma reserve by 10 hectares due to dwindling levels of grass and leaves.
According to Kacchap, although the animals feast on a daily supply of chokar and khalli, they do need natural food supplements for survival.
Grass takes times to grow. The deer have consumed almost everything that the sanctuary had to offer, turning the place barren and forcing the foresters to feed them with a diet of gourds and cucumbers.
However, the arrangement is only stopgap and foresters warned that it would last only till the supply of gourds and cucumbers were exhausted.
“As of now, as we see it, expansion of the forest reserve is the only way out. But, if we do mange to expand, then the additional 10-12 hectares that we would take in should be sufficient to take care of the food scarcity,” Kacchap said.