The Delhi High Court issued an order halting the ongoing translocation of spotted deer from the Deer Park in Hauz Khas. Additionally, the court recommended maintaining a minimum of 50 deer within the park, proposing an alternative to closing it down.
The order was issued by the division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Mini Pushkarna in response to an application filed by the New Delhi Nature Society.
The society has requested a halt to the Central Zoo Authority's (CZA) approval for relocating animals from Hauz Khas to Rajasthan and Asola. In response, the Court has directed that the rationale behind the decision to translocate deer from the AN Jha Deer Park at Hauz Khas be provided for its consideration.
The Court noted that the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has the option to relocate the animals to different green areas while also considering the possibility of retaining some deer at their current locations.
“Maintain some (deer) over here so that children can go see,” Justice Manmohan remarked
Upon the submission citing overbreeding as a motive for the transfer, the Court remarked that in such a case, the animals could potentially be relocated within Delhi itself.
The Court questioned the decision to send the animals outside Delhi, highlighting the ample land and green spaces under the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) that could potentially accommodate them, suggesting the possibility of accommodating these animals at the ridges within Delhi.
The Court expressed concern that the deer might not survive if relocated to Rajasthan due to the presence of numerous leopards in the state. Additionally, the applicant-society informed the Court that the approval given by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) contradicted the guidelines outlined in the Wildlife Protection Act. The approval lacked documentation on reasons for revoking the zoo license, as mandated by the act.
It was brought to the Court's attention that a significant number of deer had already been moved to Rajasthan. The counsel representing the respondent authorities clarified that no translocation to Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary had occurred thus far.
Simultaneously, the applicant also pointed out that the translocation carried out thus far had not adhered to the guidelines set by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). These guidelines prohibit the translocation of pregnant, elderly, and newborn deer, among others, which had not been followed during the process.
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