A Mumbai-based NGO, Peace for Animals Welfare Association, has raised objections over keeping live deer as prey for tigers inside the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) Tiger Safari.
The issue came to the fore when a member attached to the NGO had gone to SGNP for the Tiger Safari and was shocked to see many spotted deers roaming in the Tiger Safari where a tiger is also released during safari hours.
As evidence, the NGO member shot a video where it can be seen that there are many spotted deers grazing in the tiger safari premises. The tiger can also be seen just a few hundred meters away.
A video grab where it can be seen that there are many spotted deers grazing in the tiger safari premises
The NGO has alleged that keeping live deer as prey for tigers inside the tiger safari is against thje law since the tiger that is released in the safari is a captive tiger that has been hand raised.
The NGO has also complained about the same to SGNP authorities and also the Assistant Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (APCCF) Suresh Thorat and it has also appealed that the deers should be removed from the safari area.
One of the member from the NGO said, "I was shocked to see spotted deers roaming in the tiger safari area as it is not ethical to release the spotted deers in the same area where a hand-raised tiger is released. I have sent the video about the evidence also but no action has been taken. I want to know what action will the authorities take to save those deers?"
However, sources from SGNP told this newspaper that the the spotted deers that are roaming in the safari area are wild and they had entered the premises during the chain-fencing and repairing of the safari was being done.
The authorities also told this newspaper that around nine spotted deers have already left the area and gone back into the forest.
"The safari area is 50 acres and the spotted deers had entered the safari area when the chain fencing and repairing work of the tiger safari was in progress as there is a good availability of food. Some of the deers have already left the premises and soon the remaining will also be safely rescued and released back into the adjoining natural forested patch. The tiger sits in the waterhole that is more than six-seven minutes away from the location where the spotted deers are and I would like to make it clear that in no way we have released them deliberately into the safari area as we are also aware about the rules and regulations. We would also like to make it clear that we don't promote any kind of baiting as it is against the law." an SGNP official requesting anonymity said.