Published: 10th October 2017
Will IIT Madras lose all its deer? If they don't fix their waste problem, Forest Department threatens to relocate all animals on campus to Guindy Zoo
Over 500 animals including the endangered black buck and spotted deer have died inside the IIT Madras
campus since 2010 — prompting the NGT to threaten the relocation of all animals
Will IIT Madras lose all its deer? After a spate of wild animal deaths in IIT Madras, the State government has threatened to relocate all the scheduled animals to the Guindy National Park. In its submission before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday, the Forest Department said that it would relocate all animals on the IIT-M campus if the institution failed to protect its natural habitats.
"The forest range officer of Guindy National Park has been undertaking weekly inspections inside the IIT campus and has been advising the authorities on human-induced mortality and ways to control it. If the suggested measures are not implemented effectively, the extreme steps of translocating/driving the blackbuck, spotted deer and jackals into Guindy National Park would be considered," Nasimuddin, Principal Secretary of Forest Department, said in his affidavit before the NGT.
The Scheduled category of wildlife estimated to be on the IIT Madras campus in the latest survey includes 32 blackbucks and 372 spotted deer
The official records available with the State Forest Department show that a whopping 517 animals have died inside the IIT Madras campus from 2010. The sprawling 246-acre campus, which was originally carved out of a forest area, is home to endangered blackbuck, spotted deer, jackal among others, which are protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, besides harbouring several other flora and fauna. Of late, the animals are subjected to higher stress levels due to habitat destruction, unscientific constructions, improper disposal of solid wastes and speeding vehicles.
In the last two months, Wildlife Warden K Geethanjali has issued three notices to IIT Madras asking it not to dump solid waste, including plastics, within their premises in a bid to prevent the animal deaths. In the past, the postmortem reports of spotted deer that have died hit the headlines as veterinarians recovered balls of plastic waste from their insides.
In Danger: IIT-M has been issued three notices not to dump solid waste on campus
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has now asked IIT Madras to explore the possibilities of setting up a bio-methanation plant for the treatment and disposal of biodegradable waste generated in the campus. Nasimuddin said IIT Madras has been asked to prepare an eco-restoration and wildlife habitat management plan, in consultation with research institutions. The Tamil Nadu Forest Department will provide necessary assistance if required.
N Sadiq Ali, founder of Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust said that though translocating animals is not generally advisable, it is not a bad idea considering the kind of abuse they were facing inside. It is not only habitat destruction but people's insensitivity towards wildlife. Recently, there was a case of a jackal being beaten to death. Forest officials were not given access to interrogate the suspects for two days. Finally, the carcass went missing and the suspects were let off. An RTI reply from IIT Madras said the institute had no separate budget allocation for protection of wildlife inside the campus.