TAMIL NADU

Barking deer make Guindy their second home

BRIGHT FUTURE: The barking deer at the Children's Park, Guindy. - Photo: S.S. Kumar

BRIGHT FUTURE: The barking deer at the Children's Park, Guindy. - Photo: S.S. Kumar  



P. Oppili

The `warriors of forests' population is growing at a healthy rate

CHENNAI: With their population growing at a healthy rate, the `warriors of forests' have made the Children's Park, Guindy, their second home.

Barking deer are called the `warriors of forests' for the alarm calls they sound to other herbivores of any impending attack from predators. At present, both the Children's Park and the Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur, house a sizeable population of this species.

Ashish Kumar Srivastava, Wildlife Warden, Chennai, said a barking deer was rescued and handed over to the Children's Park in 1998. "We then got a pair for this animal from the Vandalur Zoo. From then on, breeding has been good at the Park," he said. The breeding was so successful that Park authorities gave about half a dozen barking deer to the Zoo last month, said Wildlife authorities.

The animals' feed includes grass, wheat brawn, soaked Bengal Gram, cabbage, greens and salt.

Renovation

The enclosure where the deer at the Children's Park were housed would soon be redesigned and provided with a moat, the authorities said.

The population of over 21 animals are housed in a sprawling 4,778 sq.ft area, according to the authorities. At the zoo, the barking deer was introduced during the zoo's inauguration.

However, breeding started only a few years later, the authorities said.

Aggressive behaviour

In the wild, the male barking deer is known to be very aggressive.

The barking deer also has some unique features. One is a pair of overgrown canines and antlers called `tushes'. Both the antlers and the tushes are used as weapons during a fight.

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