The Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) brought in 105 deer from the Ramanabagan wildlife sanctuary in Burdwan district on Monday. According to forest officials, the deer have been kept in a temporary enclosure built at the Rajabhatkhawa forest under the BTR.

The herbivore will be freed in the open after two to three days of rehabilitation. “We have brought 105 deer from the Ramanabagan wildlife sanctuary situated in Burdwan district. All of them belong to the spotted deer species. We will release the animals in the jungle in parts after they become habituated in the enclosure after some days,” Deputy Field Director of the east division of the BTR, Kalyan Rai said.

“The animals have been brought to the BTR as part of the herbivore augmentation programe that started last December prior to the execution of the tiger augmentation programme at the Buxa Tiger Reserve forest,” Mr Rai said. Earlier, 230 deer were brought to the BTR from South 24 Parganas and from the Malda district as part of the herbivore augmentation in the forest, it is learnt.

Notably, the state forest department has decided to initiate the tiger augmentation programme at the Buxa Tiger Reserve forest and to have a good result of the tiger augmentation programme, the reserve authorities has already started the herbivore augmentation in the forest.

A number of BTR officials have undergone training on herbivore augmentation at other national parks like the Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, Satpura National Park and Bandhabgar National park, it is learnt.

“We have started the herbivore augmentation because herbivores are the only food for the tigers. We started the herbivore augmentation much before the tiger augmentation project here,” said the deputy field director of the forest for the east division, Pradip Bauri.

The Buxa Tiger Reserve forest is spread across a 760 square km area located in Alipurduar district. It was established as a tiger reserve forest in the year 1983 as the 15th tiger reserve forest in India.

The BTR has an old fame for having at least 26 tigers in the reserve forest in the seventies. However, at present, there are doubts on the presence of the big cats at the BTR forest, and this has raised an alarm and prompted the state forest department to start the tiger augmentation programme. The National Tiger Conservation Authority has primarily give a nod to the tiger augmentation programme at the BTR forest, it is learnt.