The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the concerned authorities to maintain the current situation regarding the relocation of spotted deer from the renowned ‘Deer Park’ following the withdrawal of its designation as a ‘mini zoo’.
Acting Chief Justice Manmohan, leading the bench, instructed the authorities to address a plea seeking a halt to the Central Zoo Authority’s (CZA) decision. The court recommended retaining at least 50 deer within the park while considering relocating the remaining ones to green areas under the control of DDA or the Ridge.
“There’s an abundance of leopards in the Rajasthan jungle. Survival there for these deer seems unlikely. Keep a minimum of 50 deer within the park so that visitors, especially children, can continue to enjoy seeing them,” remarked the bench, which included Justice Mini Pushkarna.
“During this period, maintain the existing situation. Refrain from moving them,” the court added.
The park, officially recognized as A N Jha Deer Park, situated in south Delhi’s Hauz Khas area, is a favored spot for picnics and social gatherings, falling under the jurisdiction of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).
Officials highlighted that the decision to revoke its zoo license was made due to concerns about the rapid rise in population, inbreeding, the potential spread of diseases, and insufficient trained staff for its upkeep.
The counsel representing the petitioner, New Delhi Nature Society, which contested CZA’s decision, conveyed on Wednesday that authorities had previously indicated the issue of spotted deer translocation had been referred to the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. Allegedly, 80 spotted deer have been relocated to other places in batches of 40, without providing a rationale for revoking the park’s license. Moreover, the petitioner argued that this relocation action was in violation of applicable guidelines safeguarding old, newborn, and pregnant deer from such transfers.
The CZA issued the order on June 8, cancelling the Deer Park’s recognition as a ‘mini zoo’.
As per officials, the park initially introduced six deer in the 1960s, and the population gradually increased to around 600. Following the withdrawal of its license, the forest departments of Rajasthan and Delhi are set to take further steps for their relocation.
The next hearing on this matter is scheduled for January. (With inputs from PTI)