Deer spotted in cyclone-ravaged park

About 4,000 were missing; herds seen near waterbodies in Odisha sanctuary

Updated - May 17, 2019 01:51 am IST

Published - May 17, 2019 01:50 am IST - Bhubaneswar

Nearly 55 lakh trees in Balukhand-Konark sanctuary were damaged by Cyclone Fani.

Nearly 55 lakh trees in Balukhand-Konark sanctuary were damaged by Cyclone Fani.

In a major relief to forest officials and nature lovers, many spotted deer that went missing from Balukhand-Konark sanctuary during Cyclone Fani have been traced, an official said on Thursday.

About 4,000 spotted deer were missing from the sanctuary located in Puri district of Odisha. Separate herds of spotted deer were noticed near waterbodies inside the sanctuary on Wednesday and their pictures have been captured on camera, said Divisional Forest Officer Harshvardhan Udgata. Efforts are on to trace all the other missing spotted deer, he said.

The ‘extremely severe cyclone’ made landfall in Puri town on Odisha coast on May 3 and passed through the sanctuary with high-velocity winds with speed of over 200 kmph.

A day after the cyclone, forest officials launched foot patrolling in the sanctuary but the spotted deer and other animals were nowhere to be found.

Mentioning that officials have so far recovered only one carcass of a deer, Mr. Udgata said they suspect that most of the animals took shelter near cashew trees inside the sanctuary.

The State government on Tuesday had decided to use drones to locate the missing spotted deer.

The sanctuary, spread over an area of 72 sq km, is a known habitat of around 4,000 spotted deer apart from other animals. Nearly 55 lakh trees have been badly ravaged by the cyclone. The sanctuary, where antelopes and jackals are also found, is now closed to visitors.

At least 64 people were killed and more than 5 lakh dwelling units damaged by Cyclone Fani in the State’s coastal districts.

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