CHENNAI: A herd of nearly 15 deer that reportedly strayed from IIT-Madras campus and made a green patch adjacent to American International School at Taramani their home, are now on the loose on roads, with a real estate firm clearing the entire vegetation to make way for a new IT space.
In the last few weeks, several acres were flattened leaving the herd shelterless. The problem is that the area is surrounded by IT firms and the Old Mahabalipuram Road is nearby. This makes the area a crowded place with high traffic density. Besides, there is lot of plastic waste dumped in the vicinity and deer have been spotted consuming it.
The issue came to light after Abhijith SP, an M.A student of University of Madras, wrote a post and uploaded a picture in Facebook showing the flight of animals. The post has gone viral. The forest department was also appraised about the situation. Forest ranger C Murugesan told Express that it was a very complex situation. “We tried to capture the animals, but it was very difficult because of their fast movement. Also, there is a lot of open area for the animals to escape.
We need special nets to capture these animals and any mistake will threaten the public and cause disturbance to traffic. There is a danger of animals dying due to stress and run over by vehicles. They are sensitive,” he said.
The official said it’s not just at Taramani that deer are found wandering. They are found also in Guindy Industrial Estate, Saidapet and Ekkatuthangal. “A few years ago, the State government had allotted funds to capture and relocate these animals roaming in residential areas. We had relocated about 40-50 animals then, but later the funds have stopped. It’s a very painstaking exercise and need a lot of manpower. If proper equipment and funds are given, the department can capture and relocate these animals to Vandalur,” he said.
An activist Shravan Krishnan told Express that it is impossible for the forest department to catch the straying deer. “They are not dogs to be captured. Deer get stressed out very easily and tranquilising them is also difficult. The real issue here is the shrinking of their natural habitat in IIT-Madras. I have seen deer straying at Indiranagar, Gandhinagar and other surrounding areas. This problem is only going to increase. About eight months back, a deer was run over by a vehicle on OMR and I have rescued a jackal hit by another vehicle. Also, a monitor lizard was captured from Ascendas IT Park. This will happen, if there are huge constructions close to the core forest area,” he said.