Places frequented by deer outside protected areas to be mapped

The Nellimalai reserve forest near Mettupalayam is an isolated forest patch surrounded by villages and River Bhavani.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The Forest Department has decided to map places frequented by spotted deer outside the protected areas in Coimbatore Forest Division.

The decision was taken after two spotted deer were found gunned down outside Nellimalai reserve forest of Mettupalayam forest range on Saturday.

I. Anwardeen, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle, told The Hindu that the spotted deer come out of forests in search of palatable grass and water in most of the places in the Western Ghats, including Coimbatore Forest Division.

“Such deer can be easy targets for poachers and stray dogs. Hence, the District Forest Officer has been asked to map areas outside forests where they frequent more. This will help adopt suitable measures to protect them,” he said.

According to the Forest Department, the two deer were killed around 2.5 km away from the south boundary of the reserve forest on Thekkampatti – Kurunthamalai temple road.

Killing of deer for meat has been reported outside Nellimalai reserve forest in the past too.

“Nellimalai reserve forest is a unique and isolated landscape in Coimbatore Forest Division. River Bhavani acts as a natural barrier on one side. Other areas are surrounded by villages with no connectivity to another forest patch. Hence they stray into farmlands,” said Mr. Anwardeen.

The highest number of crop raids and damages caused by spotted deer in the entire Coimbatore Forest Division are also reported from places surrounded by Nellimalai reserve forest.

Mr. Anwardeen said that the Department would also conduct a study of the spotted deer population of Nellimalai reserve forest to check whether there was a population spillover.

Camera traps will be placed in the reserve forest to study the population.

If the study finds that the forest patch is accommodating deer more than its capacity, the Department may consider capturing the excess population and release them in other protected areas, he said.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 11:41:30 AM |

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