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Population of swamp deer stable

Jorhat, Nov. 24: The population trend of eastern swamp deer has been found stable at Kaziranga National Park despite the devastation caused by two waves of floods this year.

A daylong monitoring conducted at the park a couple of days back found 864 deer scattered in various parts of the park.

Director of the park N.K. Vasu said this was an encouraging figure considering the fact that two waves of floods had hit the park this year. Several deer had died at the national park then.

“This was a monitoring exercise through which we tried to find the presence of deer and their areas of occupancy. After the floods they got scattered. Once they consolidate before the mating season in April, we will conduct another census,” Vasu said.

This was the third estimation within a span of two years in which Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) has been supporting the park authorities. In April 2011 the park recorded 1,168 eastern swamp deer while the last estimation in January 2012 recorded a figure of 1,108 deer.

Rathin Barman, a WTI official, said regular monitoring of the population trend of eastern swamp deer in pre and post-breeding seasons is very crucial to know the ecology of the species. “The current exercise will be followed up by another in March-April. With this exercise we will also know their dispersal areas after the floods,” he said.

The census was carried out in all the ranges of the park and the north bank. Trained forest staff, representatives of NGOs, villagers and media representatives took part in the exercise. Fourteen elephants were used for it.