After much dilly-dallying, the decks have been cleared to shift the deer park from the Tirumala ghat road to the Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park in Tirupati.
The deer park is billed as the biggest wildlife sanctuaries in Asia, spread over 2,212 hectares.
The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) and forest officials have been planning this shift for three years. It came up against stiff resistance from various quarters, particularly the opposition parties.
Shifting the park became imperative because panthers have frequently strayed onto the pilgrims’ path and the ghat road while stalking the deer. There were occasional attacks on pilgrims.
At one time there was a proposal to shift the deer park to Idupulapaya estate in Kadapa district instead of the Tirupati zoo. It was dropped following a hue and cry from opposition parties as well as animal lovers.
‘’At the time of the park’s inception, there were only 10 deer. Now the number has increased to 250. The inbreeding resulted in decreased resistance among deer,’’ Chalapathi Rao said.