Ooty deer park likely to become Nilgiri Tahr rehabilitation centre

The deer park in Udhagamandalam which is to be converted into a Nilgiri Tahr centre.   | Photo Credit: M_Sathyamoorthy

The deer park in Udhagamandalam town, home to around 15 barking and sambar deer, could soon be turned into a rescue and rehabilitation centre for the endangered Nilgiri Tahr, according to forest department officials.

The park, which has been closed to the public over the last few years, has become an extremely difficult problem to solve for the forest department, with many of the animals, especially newborn calves and older animals, dying as a result of sickness arising from the build-up of pathogens within the five-acre enclosure.

The Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) management, which now manages the deer park, has been trying to shift the animals to zoos to other districts, but have been facing hurdles in transporting them, as they are susceptible to dying suddenly due to stress induced by capture and travelling.

Speaking to The Hindu, top forest department officials said that a proposal was being readied to turn the deer park into a rescue and rehabilitation centre for the Nilgiri Tahr.

“The Tahr, which is found in Tamil Nadu in both the Nilgiris and Valparai is an endangered herbivore, which needs special protection,” said the official. The official added that due to a stabilising population, and more animals spilling over into human habitations, especially the animals in Valparai, there were few sustaining injuries and in need of medical care due to a variety of both natural and anthropogenic factors.

“As there is no dedicated space that allows us to rescue and rehabilitate the Tahr, and prepare them for release back into the wild, we are looking at turning the deer park into a rehabilitation centre,” the official added. As yet, the fates of the remaining deer at the park have not been decided, with officials still discussing the best possible course of action that can be followed to relocate the animals. The officials said that releasing the animals back into the wild was not an option as they do not have the requisite skills to survive out in the wild.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 9:07:55 PM |

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