Posts filed under ‘Harisankar Deer Park, Balangir’
BALANGIR: Come summer and Harishankar deer park in the district turns into a hell hole for its inhabitants. Nine deer have died this season in the park so far due to dehydration and alleged malnutrition. The forest department, which is in charge of the deer park, a tourist hotspot, has been oblivious to the plight of the hapless animals living in miserable conditions.
Almost every year there are reports of deer deaths in the park, which shoots up during summer. In 2007 seven deer reportedly died due to pneumonia. Seven more had died in 2004-05. Between 2008 and 2009, there were reports of five deer deaths due to malnutrition, while in 2010 and 2011, 11 deer died due to poor hygienic conditions in the park. Investigation by the forest department later revealed that one deer died due to old age while others died young due to lack of health care and proper nutrition. In the last five years altogether 39 deer have died in the park.
The Harisankar deer park, set up in 1971 on 1.50 acre land with just eight deer, now resembles an abandoned cattle house. “It is unfortunate that the park could neither be saved nor revived though the local MLA was twice minister of tourism,” said Jhasketan Naik of Khaprakhol.
According to sources, the government provides only 1.60 kg of fodder for 197 deer in the park per day, which is much less than the requirement. The deer are provided leaves and branches from the Gandhamardan forest to meet their food requirement.
Balangir divisional forest officer (DFO) Abhiram Naik admitted that the park is too small to accommodate about two hundred animals. “We have written to authorities to take half of the deer to other places,” the DFO said.
He said every year the state government provides only Rs 2 lakhs for the park, which is not sufficient. “The park is running only on state government aid as central government has not granted park status to the Harisankar park,” the DFO said.
Balangir, Oct. 3: The 40-year-old Harisankar Deer Park located at the foothills of Gandhamardan hills, around 80km from here, has fallen prey to apathy on part of the district administration and political will.
There are around 201 deer left under an unhygienic condition. Six deer have died due to want of fodder in the last two years.
The deer park was set up in 1971 over 1.50 acres of land with a view to drawing tourists at Harisankar. In the beginning, the park used to house eight deer along with other species such as blue bull, bear, leopards and peacocks. Soon the park became a popular tourist spot as it happened to be the only one in the western part of the state at that time.
The popularity of the deer park prompted the authority to develop a similar one — Gandhamardan Deer Park — on five acres after two years.
Gandhamardan too had deer blue bull, bear and leopards.
However, maintenance of Gandhamardan later became a tough task for the authority due to paucity of funds. Some animals of the park were shifted to Nandankanan while several other fell prey to poachers. The last animal of the park was killed around 10 years ago.
Locals lament closure of the park. “The park could neither be saved nor revived despite A.U. Singhdeo, a political heavyweight from the district, becoming the tourism minister twice in the recent past,” said Radheshyam Sahu of nearby Khaprakhole village.
At present, Gandhamardan park lies abandoned while Harisankar languishes due to space constraint. The park now houses 201 deer. Lack of space hinders free movement of animals inside the park and incidents of deer dying here have become a routine affair.
Sources said the state government provided 1.60kg of fodder everyday for each deer, which is far less than what is required. The animals are supplied leaves and branches of trees collected from the Gandhamardan forest to meet their food requirement.
Divisional forest officer (DFO) of Balangir R.K. Sahu admitted that the park was too small to accommodate 201 animals. “The park is running only on state government aid as the Centre has not granted park status to Harisankar. We have asked authorities to shift half of the deer to other places,” he said.
“The state government provides only Rs 2 lakh annually which is not sufficient to maintain the park,” he said.