Hyderabad: For the first time in the State, animal conservationists and forest department officials have re-introduced the endangered species of mouse deer into the wild. On Tuesday, forest officials released eight mouse deer, two male and six females, in the forests of Nallamalla, Amrabad.
For the next two months, field biologists and forest staff will closely monitor the adaptability and behaviour of the mouse deer, which are also known as Spotted Chevrotain, in their natural setting.
Once the mouse deer are found to be feeding on wild vegetation and have managed to adapt, those remaining in Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad will also be released into the wild.
The forest officials have created a protected enclosure of 2.14 hectares of natural forest area in the Mannanur range of Amrabad Tiger Reserve (ATR).
“The enclosure is completely protected by providing solar fence, watering facility through solar powered bore and CCTV cameras. Biologists and field staff will monitor mouse deer and their adaptability to wild vegetation,” officials said.
Mouse deer (Jarini Pandi in Telugu) are nocturnal and because of their small size they are smallest ungulates (large mammals) in the world. Though they are found throughout India, but due to destruction of their habitat and poaching, their numbers have been on the decline.
Since 2010, the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad is collaborating with Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) to take up conservation of mouse deer.