Bengal Safari Park: Forest dept to conduct probe into deer deaths

Kolkata, Dec 9 (IANS): Irked over frequent deaths of spotted deer in Bengal Safari Park at Siliguri in Darjeeling district of West Bengal, the state forest department has ordered a thorough probe to track the reason behind such deaths.

As per records of the state forest department, as many as 27 spotted deer died in the last two months at Bengal Safari Park spread over 297 hectares of land.

According to West Bengal Forest Minister, Jyotipriyo Mullick, a thorough enquiry will be conducted not just to ascertain the reasons behind the frequent deaths of the spotted deer but also to find out the corrective measures to be taken to prevent them.

He also said that if negligence towards duties or procedural lapses are detected, disciplinary and departmental proceedings will also be initiated accordingly.

However, a senior state forest departmental official, who did not wish to be named, said that initial findings have revealed that different parts of the boundary fencing of the deer enclosure with the Bengal Safari Park got damaged and broken, which prompted those deer to come out of the enclosures.

"In all probability, after coming out of the enclosure they consumed certain waste foods of the canteen for the staff or may be some poisonous mushroom which led to their deaths. This is the initial apprehension and the detailed reasons will be known only after the enquiry on this count is completed," the state forest department official said.

It was learnt that the matter of broken fencing walls of the deer enclosure was brought to the notice of the Bengal Safari Park authorities first by Solitary Nature and Animal Protection Foundation, popularly known as SNAP Foundation.

When contacted, SNAP Foundation director, Koustav Choudhury told IANS that the number of deaths of sported deer had been noticed since the last one year, which aggravated the most during the last two months.

"A year back the number of spotted deer in Bengal Safari Park was 750, which has now come below 700. We have pointed out the issues of broken fencing walls to the park authorities and also given some suggestions on their food cycle. However, now we have been assured by the forest department of corrective measures," he said.

Just two days ago, an Australian Kangaroo Alex, which was rescued from the clutches of the wildlife smugglers in north Bengal and sheltered in Bengal Safari Park died reportedly because of food-poisoning after consuming mushrooms.



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Title: Bengal Safari Park: Forest dept to conduct probe into deer deaths

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