Delhi Golf Club's sambar deer to be shifted to Asola Bhatti Sanctuary
The DGC approached the Delhi Forest and Wildlife Department around three months ago, requesting them to shift the herd to the Asola Sanctuary.The wildlife sanctuary covering 32.71 sqkm area lies in Southern Delhi and northern parts of Haryanas Faridabad and Gurugram districts.It is part of the Northern Aravalli leopard wildlife corridor, which extends from the Sariska National Park in Rajasthan to Delhi Ridge.
A member of the golf club had introduced sambar deer into the DGC around 20 years ago. Their number has increased over time, an official said.
''They need a natural environment. A place with minimal human interference. Many times, the golf ball hits an animal, scaring the entire herd,'' the DGC official said, adding they also damage the grass, resulting in increased maintenance cost. ''In winter months, when food is scarce, these deer start eating the grass on the golf course,'' he added. The DGC approached the Delhi Forest and Wildlife Department around three months ago, requesting them to shift the herd to the Asola Sanctuary.
It is part of the Northern Aravalli leopard wildlife corridor, which extends from the Sariska National Park in Rajasthan to Delhi Ridge. Between 2010 and 2019, Rajasthan's forest department had also relocated several sambar deer from the DGC to Ranthambore National Park's buffer areas, officials said.
A senior official in the Delhi forest department said a team from the south division has collected data on these deer.
"We have set up 10 camera traps to monitor their behavior. We are trying to identify their group dynamics," the official said.
The deer in the DGC need more space to prevent deaths due to infighting, he added. "The Asola Sanctuary has been witnessing an increase in its vegetation and wildlife population. We have a requirement for deer. This will also improve the prey base for the leopards we have in our forest," the official said. In December, the staff of the department spotted a striped hyena – a near-threatened species with a global population of fewer than 10,000 individuals – in the sanctuary.
According to officials, the nocturnal animal has was seen in the forest for the first time in around seven years.
Also, the department has confirmed the presence of two leopards – a sub-male and a male -- in the sanctuary through images captured by camera traps.
The department had set up around 30 camera traps in the sanctuary to conduct an animal census, which started in July, to ascertain the number of species and the pattern of their distribution in the forest.
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