The Forest department might seek help of the US voluntary organisation Safari Club International Foundation (SCIF) to translocate some of the 335 barasinghas from the Kanha National Park to the Satpura Tiger Reserve in Hoshangabad for its population to grow.
The issue figured at the meeting of Tiger Board chaired by Forest Minister Himmat Kothari three days ago here. However, Principal Chief Conservator Forest (PCCF) P.B. Gangopadhyay told Hindustan Times that though the government is concerned about stagnation of the barasingha (swamp deer) population, it is premature to comment on the idea of translocation.
Population of Cervus Duvaceli Branderi, a sub species of antelope, popularly known as barasingha, has not shown any sign of growth in the last two decades in the Kanha National Park.
In the 1970s, the number of swamp deer was 66 that multiplied to 335 in the next one decade or so. But in the last two and half decades its population is virtually stagnant, according to forest officials.
Although officials are unable to pinpoint the exact reason for stagnation, they surmise that this could be due to barsinghas’ maladjustment with habitat and multiplication of another herbivorous deer- cheetal - in the park.
They also suspect that the swamp deer must be falling an easy prey to tigers and other carnivores due to their inability to enter deep forests.
The swamp deer finds it hard to enter deep in the forest due to antlers with a dozen tines. This has raised fear of the extinction of barasingha, which is State’s mascot in the event of an outbreak of disease.