Incidentally, this would be the second deer breeding centre of the region. Nature Club, a Surat-based NGO, has already started operating a centre at Vansda National Park in Navsari district since April 2010. The centre has 24 deer now.
The breeding centre will come up at Sarsinh village in Mandvi taluka where the forest department has identified two acres of land for the purpose. It has already started working on the site and it is expected to become operational from September. The centre will also have a hospital and separate cages for cubs along with a research centre. The village has been selected for being close to the forest.
“We will breed four-horned deer or Chausinga at the centre. Though South Gujarat has a good forest cover, animals are limited in number. It is our attempt to restore natural habitat in the forests. The four-horned deer were once found in this region and so we have selected them for breeding,” said AG Vasava, divisional forest officer (DFO) of Surat.
According to Vasava, deer will be procured from zoos and national parks of the state and country. Currently, a master plan for the procurement of deer is being prepared, which would be finalised in the next few days.
Sources said once the breeding centre becomes successful, the department would release the animals into the forest. This would be done after the deer population at the centre reaches an expected number. Further, the forest department will guide locals so that they can prevent any harm to the animals once they are released in the forests.