WILDLIFE: Jaldapara gets two more swamp deer

WILDLIFE: Jaldapara gets two more swamp deer – only two, enough to start a herd ?!!

A swamp deer and its fawn at the enclosure in Jaldapara - beautiful animals, really !! (Photo by Anirban Choudhury)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Alipurduar, June 23: New members have been added to the family of six swamp deer at the Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary with the birth of two fawns last week.

After almost seven years, two male deer have been born in captivity much to the relief of foresters who were worried about the male-female ratio of the animals at the sanctuary.

Currently, there are five female and three male (including two babies) swamp deer in Jaldapara. According to the forest department records, swamp deer were last seen in the nearby forests in 1954.

In 1998, two adult male and four females along with a fawn were brought to Jaldapara from Lucknow Zoo for captive breeding. The animals were kept in a one-hectare enclosure and within a couple of years they started breeding.

But most of the fawns born between 2000 and 2006 died because of snakebites.

In 2004, five swamp deer escaped from the sanctuary after the enclosure in which the animals were kept was damaged by wild elephants.

The foresters brought back the four females on the same day but the male deer went missing only to be found two years later.

On April 22, 2006, the male deer was rescued from Moiradanga beat, almost 7km from the enclosure from which it had escaped.

By 2006, almost all the animals that were brought from Lucknow died but four females along with a male deer that were born in Jaldapara had survived.

In 2008, the forest department erected a new fence to prevent snakes from entering the enclosure in which the swamp deer were being kept. A water body was also constructed in the enclosure along with a shed. The area was made swampy as the animals like to spend most of the time in water.

In October a female deer that was born in captivity survived in the new enclosure.

Omprakash, divisional forest officer wildlife-III, said: “This is good news that two fawns were born here within a week because the number of male swamp deer were less than the number of females. We have erected the fence in a way so that snakes cannot enter. We have also made a water body inside. Hopefully these two fawns will survive and when the number of animals at the sanctuary becomes more than 10, we will release some of them in the wild.”

Jumbo dies in Nepal – man vs wildlife, a solution-less battle ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Siliguri, June 23: An elephant calf that had crossed over to Nepal died late last evening, reportedly by electrocution.

“The calf was a member of a herd of 100 odd elephants that has been roaming around in Naxalbari and the adjoining areas of Nepal for the past one week. We have information that the animal got electrocuted by live wires laid by villagers to prevent elephants from entering their corn fields,” a senior forester said.

This is the fourth incident in the last two years when an elephant that had crossed the border was killed either by bullets or by electrocution.

“The calf was barely one year old and it died at a village close to Bamandangi in Nepal,” a senior forester of Kurseong division said. Bamandangi is 45km from Siliguri.

Foresters suspect that the herd is now in the Dalka and Kalabari forests of Naxalbari block. “We had a meeting earlier this month with some NGOs and Nepal police and they had agreed to conduct awareness drives for residents of the border villages so that they did not attack elephants or cause them harm. But yesterday’s incident indicates that the drive has either not been carried out or has proved ineffective,” the forester said.

“Whenever elephants from India cross the border they are attacked by arrows and guns or they are electrocuted. The state has to take this up with the Centre,” said Animesh Bose, the programme coordinator of Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation.

S.B Patel, the chief conservator of forests wildlife, north Bengal, said he has sought a report from the forest division concerned and would forward it to his superiors.

Boy hurt in herd raid

Madhu Thakur, 7, of Dalmore Tea Estate in Jaigaon was hurt when he was hit by a brick that was knocked out of the wall of his house during an elephant attack.

A herd of 10 elephants had raided the garden last night.

Madhu was admitted to Birpara State General Hospital and later shifted to Jalpaiguri District Hospital. The herd damaged 19 huts.

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