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Delhi HC Asks DDA To Hold Deer Census In 'Deer Park'

A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan, who was hearing a petition against the decision of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to cancel the recognition of the facility as a "mini zoo", observed that there are several "city forests" like Jahanpanah where excess deer could be relocated while the 'Deer Park' continued to house at least 50 of them.

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Delhi High Court
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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the DDA to conduct a census of spotted deer in the city's 'Deer Park' and suggested that some of them may be translocated to other green areas of the national capital if the existing facility was overburdened.

A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan, who was hearing a petition against the decision of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to cancel the recognition of the facility as a "mini zoo", observed that there are several "city forests" like Jahanpanah where excess deer could be relocated while the 'Deer Park' continued to house at least 50 of them.

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"Children residing in the city get to see them. Why do you want to deprive Delhiites of this facility? Don't do away with this facility," the bench, also comprising Justice Manmeet PS Arora, said.

The park, officially known as the A N Jha Deer Park, in south Delhi's Hauz Khas area is a popular among people. It comes under the jurisdiction of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

The CZA issued the order cancelling the Deer Park’s recognition as a "mini zoo" on June 8 last year.

The court had subsequently asked authorities to maintain status quo with respect to translocation of spotted deer from the park.

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The counsel for petitioner New Delhi Nature Society said the basis for cancellation of the recognition was "population explosion" among deer there and urged the court to direct the DDA to provide data in this regard.

The court, thus, asked the DDA to carry out a deer population census.

"The DDA is directed to carry out a census of the deer population at the zoo after categorising them into male, female, sub-adults and juveniles, and provide a chart depicting the total population as on date," the court ordered.

The petitioner's counsel said currently, around 65 hectare of green area is available adjoining the park, some of which could be utilised for keeping deer.

"If you want to maintain it (the adjoining area) as green area, let there be deer in it.. Jahanpanah city forest is there. There deer can be introduced," the court stated as it listed the matter for further hearing in March.

In December, the court had asked authorities to maintain status quo with respect to the translocation of spotted deer from the 'Deer Park' and suggested that at least 50 deer be retained in the park while the remaining may be sent to green areas under the control of the DDA or the Ridge here.

According to officials, the decision to cancel its licence as a zoo was taken in view of rapid growth of population, inbreeding, possibility of spread of disease and lack of trained manpower to maintain it.

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Six deer were introduced in the park in the 1960s and over time, the number swelled to approximately 600 and post-cancellation, the forest departments of Rajasthan and Delhi shall take further action for their translocation, officials had said.

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