Wild Barking Deer comes to Delhi forest after centuries

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New Delhi, Dec 21 (IANS) In a rare case — perhaps the first time in 400 years — a free ranging Barking Deer has made its way to Delhi’s Yamuna Biodiversity Park (YBP), becoming the second recent unlikely guest from the wild after a leopard.

According to Faiyaz A. Khudsar, the scientist in-charge of Yamuna Biodiversity, the deer has been living here for over a week and has been pictured by camera traps twice.

Unlike leopards, who can live in different terrains, the presence of a Barking Deer or Kankar, in the thorny scrub and semi-arid vegetation of Delhi is quite unusual.

“It’s very unusual and rarest of the rare incident to spot a Barking Deer here. It has been spotted for the first time,” Khudsar told IANS.

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He added that just like the leopard which was relocated on December 10, the deer could have made its way to Delhi through the corridor along the Yamuna river from Kalesar National Park in Haryana or some other region.

According to Professor C.R Babu, head of the Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems (CEMDE), the “top herbivore” is living in Phase-2 of the park, which is moist deciduous.

“Barking Deer existed here some 400 to 500 years ago. This is perhaps the first time since then,” Babu told IANS.

He added that since Phase-1 of the park is open to many green corridors stretching from Rajaji in Uttarakhand to Kalesar, the deer must have entered that area and then shifted to Phase-2, which is more like a Terai region, where Kankar live.

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“Barking Deer or Kankar are found in thick forest and prefer living either in a pair or isolation unlike other deer. It’s presence at YBP is a sign that the park is healthy,” said Terai region based wildlife expert V.P Singh.

“From the pictures from night vision camera traps, its (deer) antlers were not visible, which means that its a healthy female. We will install more cameras to get some front pictures,” said Khudsar.

Oldest among the deer family, Barking Deer are extremely shy, hard to spot and nocturnal in nature — which means they are mostly active during the night.

The presence of the animal in the YBP spread over 457 acres has also given hope to ecologists like C.R Babu here, that their commitment to take back the forests of Delhi to their historic glory could be achieved.

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Meanwhile, the officials have requested the Delhi Development Authority to cover Phase-2 by a 12-feet fencing for better conservation of the animals.



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