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Interim order on wildlife deaths at IIT on Nov 7

The Southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) is likely to pass an interim order in the case pertaining to the increasing number of wildlife deaths inside IIT Madras and also decide whether annual festivals like Shaastra and Sarang need to be shifted out as they were adding to the anthropogenic pressure on wildlife.

Published: 03rd November 2017 03:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd November 2017 07:37 AM   |  A+A-

Chital deer romaing at the at IIT Madras campus | file photo

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) is likely to pass an interim order in the case pertaining to the increasing number of wildlife deaths inside IIT Madras and also decide whether annual festivals like Shaastra and Sarang need to be shifted out as they were adding to the anthropogenic pressure on wildlife.

The bench, comprising Justice M S Nambiar and expert member P S Rao, had initially adjourned the case to December. However when petitioner Antony Clement Rubin’s counsel argued that the situation was grave and technical festival Shaastra was scheduled to be held between January 4 and 7, 2018, the green bench set an early date of November 7 and hinted that an interim order would be passed.

The move was also driven by additional facts submitted by Hem Chandra Tyagi, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Chief Wildlife Warden of State Forest department, who stated that 50 deer had been killed due to consumption of polythene bags from 2010 till date and also expressed concern over noise pollution levels during annual festivals.

“The free ranging deer living on the campus are not separated within exclusive blocks segregating them from the administrative and residential areas and hence are found all over the campus. The garbage including plastic is being dumped in open bins and nearby residential areas which are scavenged by deer, dogs and macaques,” the Forest department said in its reply.

The department has also noted that vehicular traffic inside campus was a constant threat to the wildlife. Tyagi said rapid loss of natural habitat was threatening the existence of the endangered blackbuck. “The IIT Madras should carry out manual or mechanical removal of prosopis to enhance the habitat quality and a management action plan needs to be prepared by the institute.

The blackbucks thrive on grasslands and are susceptible to anthropogenic pressures and require good quality habitat for its conservation. The new constructions and obstruction in the free ranging behaviour of the animal due to fencing, parking lots and residential houses has had a deleterious effect on the black bucks on the campus,” the Forest official said.

In response, IIT Madras officials said blaming Shaastra and Sarang festivities for wildlife loss was fictitious. “The problem lies elsewhere. Stray dogs are the biggest challenge,” a senior faculty member said.

291 deer, black bucks killed by dogs in last 7 years?
In its reply, the Forest department claimed that around 291 deer and black bucks had been killed by stray dogs from 2010 till date.

However, this is being contested by animal activists. “I have filed an RTI plea seeking details of postmortem done on animals three months ago, but haven’t received any response. Dogs are scavengers and feed on dead animals. If dogs feed on a dead deer, it can’t be accounted as a kill,” Rubin said.

AWBI secretary M Ravikumar has also written to the Chief Wildlife Warden, requesting him to investigate the deer deaths.

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