Strays vs deer debate rocks IIT-M
By S V Krishna Chaitanya | Express News Service | Published: 23rd July 2017 08:32 AM |
CHENNAI: Can wildlife and stray dogs co-exist in the vast expanse of IIT Madras? The question attains significance with incidents of deer and black buck deaths at an all time high.
Currently, there is a vertical divide with one group led by IIT’s wildlife club Prakriti demanding for dog-free campus and another group ‘Friends of Animals’, which enjoys the support of external animal rights organisations, stonewalling any attempt of the institute to relocate the strays.
On Saturday, an emergency meeting was reportedly called by dean- administration Koshy Varghese. It was decided to rope-in Corporation dog catchers to relocate unsterilised dogs. Sources told Express the dean had requested other faculty members and students to get the job done without any fuss.
Even a month ago, an all stake-holders meeting was organised by faculty association inviting noted biologist and animal behaviour expert Anindhya Sinha to discuss the issue and arrive at recommendations. However, the meeting concluded with no consensus.
Early this month, AWBI secretary M Ravikumar wrote a letter to the IIT director Bhaskar Ramamurthi to implement the birth control programme for dogs. AWBI officials warn that if IIT-M takes any step, which violates PCA Act, the board will take-up the issue legally. Meanwhile, IIT-M has also decided to ban the movement of dogs in academic zones and seal the compound abutting Guindy National Park. However, the move has caused dissent within.
Sujatha Chakravarthy of Friends for Animals said the dogs can be pushed out from blackbuck habitat and a few spots can be identified to feed the dogs, while Susy Varghese of Prakriti said 58 per cent of deaths caused were by dog attacks.
Meanwhile, animal rights activist Antony Rubin, said wildlife deaths are caused not just by dogs. “Many animals are knocked down by speeding vehicles and improper disposal of solid and plastic waste. There are no records to claim that majority of deaths are caused due to dog bites. No post-morterm is conducted.” An RTI reply from IIT-M revealed that 220 deer and eight blackbucks died between 2013 and 2016,
Forest department set to have animal rescue centre at Guindy National Park
Chennai: The forest department is readying an animal rescue and rehabilitation centre at the Guindy National Park. V Mohan, forest ranger, said a veterinarian will be posted at the centre to attend to the cases immediately. Endorsing the view that dog menace was the primary threat to wildlife, he said: “We get regular reports of animals bitten by stray dogs. Deer are very sensitive and die if not treated immediately,” he said.
1. Blackbuck population was more than 35 in the 1990s, went down to 12 in 2006 and again shot up to 30 in 2014, and now stands at 21
2. The spotted deer population was more than 266 in 2007; now stands at 175
3. About 58% deaths are caused by dog attacks
4. The number of dogs stands at 125; 40 have been sterilised
5. Between 2013 and 2016, 220 deer and eight blackbucks have died