There is good news in Deer Park – a most cherished green spot in South Delhi.Strange as it may sound, the Deer Park authorities recently developed a problem of plenty.
From a mere six deer in 1985, they now have 203 –much more than prescribed in an area of 17 acres. So the Central Zoo Authority sent them a letter, earlier this year, expressing their concern over the uncontrolled breeding, also cautioning that the park may be closed if remedial measures are not taken.
After statements of anxiety over losing their deer population poured in from nearby residents, the authorities have decided to expand the Deer enclosure to include some more area from the 60 acre park. So these mild mannered animals can now play about in a much larger space, enjoy the expanse of nature and give much joy to the park’s visitors.
This ordinary park first became home to these innocuous mammals after three couples were brought in in 1985. They breed fast and soon expanded their family to the present 200. Though these include many different species, the spotted variety is the dominant one. The elder among these, majestic golden-brown in colour, are almost always in groups and very alert. The bouncy little young ones look like little red fur-balls.
In scorching summer like this one, they recede into the depths of the woods in search of water and shade, while, in winter, they are known to roam about freely. The best time to catch up with them, though, is early morning and evening when they come out for their timely meals. Visitors, unfortunately, cannot fondle them as they are always inside a mesh enclosure where only a caretaker and doctor are allowed in.
In the past few years many rabbits, guinea pigs and peacocks have also made this park their home. In a small pond inside the park, other than the Hauz Khas jheel, umpteen species of swans, ducks and migratory birds have also started residing.
Three small monuments- Bagh-e-Alam ka Gumbad (City of cities), Tuhfewala Gumbad and Kali Gumti give much pleasure to love birds while three children’s parks here are a treat for the local kids. It is probably best loved by morning walkers and senior citizens who get a nice respite from the ever rising crowd and noise of the megapolis.
Inspite of the fact that the expansion of the Deer enclosure may take away some space for the public, Deer Park lovers are not unhappy. Gurmeet Singh, who visits frequently, says, “The park is here because of the deer. If they are taken away, this park will be gone for us as well. That is not what we want.”
Pradhan Malik, a septuagenarian who spends most of his free time here, adds, “This park is a beautiful example of how man and animal can co-exist peacefully even in a cosmopolitan City like Delhi. So what if a little bit of my walking area is given away to the deer? There is enough space here for all to live together happily.”