Spotted deer of Balukhand sanctuary fall prey to ecosystem depletion

Puri: Concerns being raised on the safety of spotted deer which are found in large numbers in Balukhand sanctuary on Puri-Konark road. Due to depleting pastures and supplementary feed, the spotted deer are straying into human habitation and facing accidents, alleged locals.

One spotted deer died after falling into a drain today whereas recently, another was found in critical condition after being hit by an unidentified vehicle. Locals alleged that as spotted deer stray into farmland, they fall into open drains and become victims of road mishaps. As per reports from the Forest department, more than 5,000 spotted deer are there in Balukhand sanctuary.

“Many deer fall into the open drains. Other animals and human beings have also fallen into the drains. The administration had assured to cover the open drains, but nothing has been done. We want a permanent solution,” said Gopal Chandra Swain, a local.

Another local Bula Behera expressed similar views and stated, the Collector had told us that action will be taken, but no steps have been taken.

Meanwhile, the Forest department said it has written to the Works department to take steps to cover open drains. The Works department also stated that it would keep track of the movement of the deer and take steps to resolve the issue.

“We have written to the PWD to take steps in this regard. Besides, we have launched night patrolling and created 14 meadows in the sanctuary area. There are plans to create four such meadows this year to provide food for the deer,” said Prashant Swain, Assistant Conservator of Forests.

“We will identify the exact spots where such mishaps are occurring. We will take steps to ensure that the mishaps do not recur,” said Priyabrata Samantara, executive engineer, Works Department, Puri.