Bhubaneswar, Feb. 12: The increase in the population of deer at Raj Bhavan in Bhubaneswar, Madhusudan Deer Park in Cuttack and Bhanja Vihar Campus at Berhampur University has made the state government sit up and chalk out plans to rehabilitate them.
The state government has decided to relocate the animals from Raj Bhavan and Madhu Sudan Deer Park to Mundali near Cutttack and the Chandaka sanctuary and from Bhanja Vihar Campus to the forest near the Narayani Temple near Berhampur. The park at Raj Bhavan was started on October 2, 1973 with just 10 deer. Now the population has touched 300. Deputy director, Nandankanan Zoological Park, Jayant Kumar Das said: "We are planning to relocate the animals from Raj Bhavan and Madhusudan Deer Park in Cuttack to Chandaka Sanctuary."
Divisional forest officer of Chandaka, Kedar Kumar Swain, said: "We are making efforts to create new habitats for the animals. Once the process is completed, the shifting the animals will start with the approval of the central zoo authorities."
He said a place called Banhara in Chandaka sanctuary had been identified to relocate the deer from Madhusudan Deer Park, which was established in 1981 on 2.5 acre with only five animals. The deer population at the park has now crossed 173.
The Cuttack Municipal Corporation has planned to establish a second deer park at Mundali on the outskirts of Cuttack. Animals from Madhusudan Deer Park will be shifted here.
Cuttack municipal commissioner Gyana Das told The Telegraph that 39 acres belonging to the revenue department was available at Mundali, about 10-12km from the city. A technical team of the civic body, along with Dampada tehsildar, had visited the site. "We have asked the district administration to complete the formalities to hand over the land to the housing and urban development department so that the civic body can start the construction of the deer park," Das said.
The increasing population of deer at the Berhampur University has put financial burden on the authorities for its maintenance. At present, there are 50 spotted deer on the Bhanja Vihar Campus of Berhampur University. In 1989, the varsity had only one male and female deer.
"We have requested the divisional forest officer of Berhampur to shift the animals to other places as it is too small to accommodate so many of them," said Subashini Patnaik, head of the department of zoology, Berhampur University.
Patnaik said the university was under financial crisis to maintain the park. "We are purchasing specific food for the deer from Agro Industries Corporation in Bhubaneswar. We are worried as the price of the animal feed is increasing considerably," Subashini said. She said the university was spending Rs 4 lakh annually on the animals.
Registrar of Berhmpur University, Remish Kerketta, said: "We have requested the principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) and chief wildlife warden to make necessary arrangements to shift the animals." Sources said the process would incur an expenditure of Rs 20 lakh.