Berhampur, December 23 (LocalWire): Around sixty spotted inmates of the Deer Park in Berhampur University here will be shifted to the Lakhari Valley wildlife sanctuary in Ganjam-Gajapati district border area.
“The process of shifting the animals has already started and we expect it to be completed in the next two months,” divisional forest officer (DFO) Paralakhemundi Vivek Kumar said.
The animals will be shifted to the sanctuary area after consultation with the local people living there, he said, adding that, “We have already held two meetings with the local people and another meeting will be held with them to take the final decision.”
After shifting, the animals will be kept in an enclosure for some months before they are released in the sanctuary area.
Since the sanctuary is spread across 186-sq km, the deer will have a lot of space for free-roaming in the area.
While the exact amount required for shifting the deer from Bhanja Bihar university campus to Lakhari Valley, about 75-km, is yet to be estimated, according to the DFO, the university authorities would be taking care of part of the expenses.
The final estimation will be made by the office of the wildlife principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF), sources stated.
The university authority has already provided the forest department with Rs 10 lakh for safe shifting of the animals from the campus, about two years ago, said a senior officer of the university.
University authorities have also written several letters to the forest department to shift the deer, he said.
Shifting of the animals was necessitated as the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) had cancelled the license of the deer park in Bhanja Bihar and had asked the wildlife organisation of the state government to shift the deer to the safer place.
The CZA had de-recognized the mini-zoo status of the park in 2013 after finding its infrastructure inadequate to handle the growing number of animals and recommended that the state wildlife authorities relocate the deer.
Since then, the CZA has written several letters to the state wildlife authorities, sources said.
The animals are housed in around 2.8-acres of lush green areas inside the university campus and the university is spending over Rs 5 to 6 lakh towards the food, medicine of the animals and other maintenance expenses annually.
The park was established in 1989 with only a pair of deer, sources said.