CHENNAI: Animal lovers have been expressing concern over the IIT Madras campus which is slowly becoming a hostile terrain for wild life, pointing to many incidents in the recent past. On January 29, the day when the curtains on Saarang, the inter-collegiate cultural extravaganza, came down, three spotted deers were hit by speeding vehicles. “At least 70 spotted deers are killed every year. It has been going largely unnoticed. Even the breeding of spotted deer has been affected largely,” laments an animal lover.
From speeding vehicles and killer dogs to plastic waste and deforestation, there are several factors that contribute to the sprawling woody campus of the prestigious institution, making it a death trap for wildlife.
Spread across 250 hectares, one fourth of the IIT campus is covered by forest. According to a rapid assessment of biodiversity on the campus in 2006, 12 species of mammals such as Indian Flying Fox, Short-nosed Fruit Bat, Mouse-tailed Bat, Golden Jackal, Common Palm Civet, Grey Mongoose, Chital, Black buck and Large Bandicoot Rat are found in the campus.
But rapid deforestation is transforming the campus into a concrete jungle, according to animal lovers, who are accusing the authorities of eating into the habitat of spotted deers and black bucks to pave the way for new infrastructures for the academic institution. “Since, the fawns are kept in the open space, they are easily taken away by stray dogs,” animal lovers point out. “The shrinkage of grazing land for spotted deer has forced the animals to feed on waste dumped in garbage bins for survival.”
“During post-mortems of several deers, we have removed 2kg of a football shaped plastic. Even napkins and condoms were found in the stomach of spotted deer,” a source in the Department of Forest and Wildlife said.
Many deers also die by consuming glass pieces, mainly broken tubelights, and injuring their legs by getting trapped in PVC rings, which render them immobile. “The hoof gets cut in the later period in the wake of trapping of rings. So the deers cannot move any longer in search of food and die out of starvation,” sources added.
Despite speed restrictions in the campus, sources claim that vehicles moving at a fast speed are killing animals. As many as 15,000 people including students, faculty and non-teaching staff are residing in the premises and a chunk of them use motor vehicles.
This apart, hundreds of vehicles enter the campus for different purposes on a daily basis and though 40 km/hr has been fixed as the speed limit, several vehicles exceed that limit.