Mrigasthali looks like a deer garden now

Hem Dulal

Kathmandu, June 12:

With five deer being born, the Mrigabatika in Pashupati area now looks like a real and natural deer garden. It also seems the deer have fully adapted to their new habitat. Though Mrigasthali etymologically means a place of deer or a deer garden, it had not even a single deer until the Central Zoo under the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation (KMTNC) provided 30 deer to the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) six months ago. According to officials at the Pashupatinath Amalpot Office under the PADT, two out of the 30 deer had died within days of their translocation to the garden. The number of deer has now reached 33 with three chittals, one ratuwa and one krishnasar each giving birth to a new baby deer.

“When we saw deer giving birth to their babies, we fed milk to the babies,” said Home Prasad Nepal, supervisor at the Mrigabatika. According to him, the baby deer needed human feeding as the mothers were having tough time to bring up their babies. Four staffers have been deployed at the Mrigabatika to look after the deer. They feed the deer twice a day — 11 am in the morning and 8 pm in the evening. Nepal said monkeys were a big trouble while feeding the deer in the beginning. “It is a good beginning to conserve the endangered species like krishnasar and a tangible contribution to nature conservation,” Dr Mukesh Chalise, a primatologist, said after visiting the garden. “The deer are turning wild and natural here,” he said. Raju Regmi, official at the Pashupatinath Amalpot Office, said about Rs 700,000 had been allocated for the Mrigabatika this year. He said the PADT officials have been holding talks with the KMTNC to bring more deer to the garden.