After stray dogs, water gushing out of a 50-feet breach in the Bathinda branch of Sirhind canal today threatened the lives of deer housed in the deer park in Bathinda. The gushing water not only damaged recently sown crop in the area but also washed away the park's boundary wall and flooded Beer Talab village on Thursday evening.
Deer park officials claimed no threat to animals housed there, even as National Disaster Response Force was at work to stem the tide.
About 400 cusecs of water gushed into the 60 acres of the park at about 4.30pm. Preliminary investigation revealed that roots of trees planted on banks of the canal might have caused the breach.
"The NDRF team took boats to the site," said deputy commissioner KK Yadav. "About 30% water in the branch canal is logged in the park, and we are trying to rescue the animals. All the water channels feeding the branch are shut, and the lining will be repaired. We believe tree roots breached it, for now."
District forest officer Kanan said the water lever in the park was two feet, and that the animals' cages were at a higher plane. The park has more than 190 animals. A team from the animal husbandry department and two policemen will be deployed at the park for two days.
Not long ago, a stray dog jad killed 31 protected black bucks in a cage, prompting chief minister Prakash Singh Badal to visit the park on the outskirts of Bathinda.
The Bishnoi community, which worships the antlers, had then alleged it to be planned killing, and three officials of the forest department were suspended.