Saturday, April 30, 2011

Work begins on centre to breed deer for hungry leopards

Kamaal Saiyed
Posted: Apr 27, 2011 at 0404 hrs ISTSurat Mandvi and adjoining areas in Surat districts have seen a number of leopard attacks on humans and pets
Forest officials have started work for setting up a breeding centre for chausinga deer in Mandvi forest range to boost natural prey base for leopards, which have been frequently attacking humans and domestic pets in the region.
Due to deforestation and lack of preys in the deep forest areas, leopards often travel huge distances in search of food and water and stray into human habitats adjacent to the forests.
The area has seen a number of leopard attacks on humans and domestic animals like cow, buffalos goats and dogs in recent months.
After a green signal from the state government, forest officials have now started work on setting up a chausinga breeding centre in Sarsi forest region of Mandvi taluka in Surat district. Forest land of 1.5 hectares has been identified and fenced with a 14-feet-high wall. Drilling work for water is under progress.
Sources in the forest department said there are over 100 chausinga deer in the Mandvi region and the neighbouring reserve forest area. The aim is to increase their number so that leopards could get their food easily in the dense forests.
Forest officials have set a target ratio of one male deer to six females. A female deer gives birth to two or three young ones at a time. The average life span of chausinga deer is between five to six years and after a year, a cub becomes adult, after which it will be freed into forest areas as prey for leopards, said Mandvi forest officer D S Chaudhary.
Deputy Conservator of Forest A G Vasawa said, “After getting funds and green signal from the state government, we have started work of setting up the breeding centre in Mandvi. We will bring deer from Gir forest and keep them at the breeding centre. If this pilot project is successful, we will bring chausinga deer from different zoos. We will keep young ones till they become adult after which we will free them into forest areas for leopards.”

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