Faced with the problem of plenty, Delhi Zoo is looking at ensuring that they are able to contain their deer/antelope population and also clear the audit objection that they received because of overcrowding of these animals.
“Deer/antelope including – sambar deer, spotted deer and black bucks – have been brought into the new programme. Previously we were only sterilising the males of the species which was creating several secondary complications among them and the operated animals also needed extensive post-operative care. The Central Zoo Authority has been advising us to contain the animal population and the overcrowding which would ensure that they stay healthy and that there are no injuries,” said Delhi Zoo vet Paneer Selvam.
As per the new programme, Delhi Zoo will now restrict the “on display” of the two species to only three males and four-five female. The rest will be tranquilised, separated and put into segregated enclosures for males and females.
“The process of segregation of spotted deer has already started and we are now waiting for the weather to improve for following up the programme aggressively. We have been told that we are to reduce the number of deer and antelopes on display and work actively at reducing their population,” said Dr. Selvam.
According to the Zoo records, the centre has been working around the problem of overpopulation of the two species for several years now. “The Delhi Zoo has over 150 deer/antelopes including sambar, black buck and hog and a few endangered groups too including chinkara. They have been working at controlling the deer/antelope population but face problems because they are prolific breeders and increased population adversely impacts their health and also cause a lot of infighting. We are hopeful that this new measure will ensure that the Delhi Zoo is able to keep this problem under check,” said a senior official at Central Zoo Authority.