Dehradun: The Barasingha or Swamp deer, a species of deer which is on the verge of extinction is not safe in the country's first Conservation Reserve. According to the data available with the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), the number of swamp deer at Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve in Haridwar district of Uttarakhand which was 150 in 2006 has fast reduced to 75.

Experts are of the view that the construction of a factory close to the Conservation Reserve may be a reason for decrease in the number of Swamp deer.

Swamp Deer are found in Hastinapur Wild Life Sanctuary, Kishanpur Wild Life Sanctuary, Dudhwa National Park and Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve. Decreasing cover of grass land and marsh area are likely to the major causes behind the dwindling number of swamp deer.

Taking into account the natural habitat of swamp deer in the Jheel, the then President APJ Abdul Kalam in 2005 had declared it as the country's first Conservation Reserve. At that time the number of swamp deer stood at 150.

However, a recent survey conducted by the ZSI reveals that the number of Swamp Deers has gone down to 75.

Director of Zoological Survey PT Bhutia said, “We will send the data with relevant suggestion to the state government. The decreasing number of swamp deer is an issue of grave concern.”

Senior scientist JP Sati said, “There should not be any kind of human intervention near the Conservation Reserve area. However, a mineral water factory has been set up very close to the conservation area.” Government must take required action on the issue, he added.

Expressing similar opinion, former Project Coordinator (Swamp deer) Dr Stya Priya Sinha said, “As the factory absorbs considerable amount of water from the lake, the forest land fails to remain damp for long, which eventually hampers the staying of swamp deer.” We have written a letter to the government in this respect, he added.

(JPN/ Bureau)