An injured stag on the sprawling campus of the Voluntary Health Services, Taramani, has been a cause of concern to residents and employees of the hospital. The stag is part of the herd of deer that has made the campus home. According to the employees, the herd had wandered into the VHS around five or six years ago from the neighbouring IIT-Madras campus and could not return home after a compound wall was built around the hospital's western and southern boundaries.

The antlered stag was seen wandering alone for the past five days and seemed to be in considerable pain. According to watchman Das, the wound on the stag's left ear has made it listless. “The wound is deep and there are a lot of insects feeding on it. We called the Forest Department for help. They came three days ago and inspected it. They have not returned to take it away,” he said. On Saturday, the employees bought two dozen bananas to feed the wounded animal. Residents say the stag is the third animal in the herd to be injured. A month ago, a deer that tried to jump the fence was fatally injured. “Its intestines were ripped off and it died even before the Forest officials could take it away from the campus,” said one of the guards. On another occasion, a deer fractured its leg. “It was limping as its leg was swollen. Again employees informed the Forest Department officials, who took away the animal after two days,” an employee said.

Arunachalam, a standard XI student of a school in Tiruvannamalai is spending the holidays on the VHS campus with his parents and says the animals saunter in and out of the shrubs the whole day. “When they pass by the windows near the hospital ward, we feed them biscuits and fruits.”

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R. SujathaJune 28, 2012