Move to shift samb­hars to tiger re­serve op­posed

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Front Page - Aab­shar H Quazi aab­shar.quazi@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Ac­tivists and ex­perts have raised alarm over a wildlife depart­ment move to re­lo­cate samb­har deer from Kota Mil­i­tary Sta­tion (KMS) to Mukun­dra Hills Tiger Re­serve (MHTR) to in­crease the prey base, ahead of shift­ing tigers to the re­serve.

Rea­son: Samb­har deer of the KMS area have a his­tory of eat­ing poly­bags. Au­topsy re­ports of all samb­har deers that have died in the area have con­firmed as much. Ex­perts say shift­ing of such deer to the new park will en­dan­ger wildlife in the re­serve, in­clud­ing the tigers for whom they are the des­ig­nated prey.

The depart­ment plans to re­lo­cate tigers in MHTR by De­cem­ber this year. Over 300 chee­tals from dif­fer­ent for­est ar­eas of Ra­jasthan in­clud­ing Jaipur, Ajmer and Jodh­pur have al­ready been taken to the re­serve, and 13 samb­hars (Rusa Uni­color), which is a large deer species, were re­leased into MHTR over the last few months.

Dis­turbingly, of the 13 sam­bars re­leased into MHTR, four died af­ter tran­quil­i­sa­tion, just be­fore or af­ter their re­lo­ca­tion.

Wildlife ac­tivist and founder of Mukun­dra Wildlife and En­vi­ron­ment So­ci­ety, Tapesh­war Singh Bhati, has writ­ten to the chief wildlife war­den of Ra­jasthan, GV Reddy, urg­ing that shift­ing of samb­hars be stopped.

“There is pos­si­bil­ity of tigers and scav­engers catch­ing in­fec­tion on con­sum­ing such poly­bag eat­ing samb­hars,” he said.

“The depart­ment is now re­lo­cat­ing un­gu­lates to MHTR since it has failed to con­sol­i­date prey base for tigers,” he said.

The se­nior vet­eri­nary doc­tor of Kota Zoo, who per­formed the au­top­sies, ad­mit­ted “samb­hars in the KMS and nearby civil­ian ar­eas con­sumes house­hold garbage thrown in poly­bags which col­lect in their stom­ach.”

Su­nayan Sharma, deputy con­ser­va­tor of for­est, Sariska Tiger Re­serve, said: “Tigers do not con­sume in­testi­nal part of the kill, but sca­v­angers and other crea­tures like wild boars, jack­als and vul­tures con­sume the in­testines and leaves no part of the kill, so such crea­tures will be vul­ner­a­ble to in­fec­tions if they eat parts of such samb­har. And if tigers kill such scav­engers they too may get in­fected”.

SHUTTERSTOCK

Ex­perts say samb­har deer with poly­thene in their stom­achs could en­dan­ger wildlife in Mukun­dra Hills Tiger Re­serve.

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