New Delhi | A study on conservation, breeding and management of brow antlered deer in captivity is being undertaken at the Delhi zoo, which is home to the maximum number of the animal among zoological parks in the country.
Pratyansha Singh, a PhD student, who is conducting the study on the endangered deer species, said the National Zoological Park was the best research field as it houses around 50 brow antlered deer and runs a successful breeding programme.
“The study looks at the behaviour, population, health and food habits of brow antlered deer in captive conservation.
Delhi zoo serves as the apt place of research as the park aims at conservation, education and research apart from recreation,” she said.
Riyaz Khan, zoo curator, said the first pair of the “rare, endemic and endangered” deer species was introduced in the zoo in 1962 by the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
“Thanks to a successful breeding programme, Delhi zoo has distributed many pairs of brow antlered deer to zoos in Ahmedabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Junagadh and Mysore,” he said.
The 26-year-old PhD student from University School of Environment Management, IP University said the deer species exhibits “vigilant behaviour” when they are surrounded by visitors.
“The behavioural pattern of animals changes when they are taken out of their natural habitat. Brow antlered deer are extremely shy animals. They become alert and vigilant when surrounded by onlookers,” she said.
Talking about the mortality rate among the deer, also Manipur’s state animal, Singh said stress is a major factor that contributes to their death.
“These animals also undergo a lot of stress. Tests are done to check the level of glucocorticoid hormones in the animals to gauge the stress level. Fighting among the dominant brow antlered male deer to get the attention of their mating partners, can also lead to fatal injuries. Apart from these, still birth and age factor also contribute to their death,” she said.