LAHORE: The number of hog deer has reached over 500 at various zoos and breeding centres in Punjab.
Punjab Wildlife Protection Department (PWPD) Director Mohammad Naeem Bhatti said the department is actively working to increase the numbers of the animal.
At present, there are more than 500 hog deer present at Lahore Zoo, Safari Park, Jalhu Park and different government breeding centers in the province.
The hog deer, an animal deep brown in colour, is found in Sheikhupura, Narowal, Shakargarh, Sialkot, Kasur, the border areas of Ravi River, River Chenab and River Sutlej. It is also found in game reserves and wild areas where its numbers have reduced more recently.
Bhatti said the deer is not only being given to other provinces, but will also be released in the Changa Manga forest over the next few days so that it can grow in a natural environment.
He said the hog deer is no longer present in the forests of Punjab, while the blue bull has also disappeared. “Sometimes, if a blue bull or hog deer enter Pakistan from Indian held Kashmir, it is kept at the government zoo as a guest,” he added.
However, a large number of hog deer are hunted down by wild dogs and other predators.
Bhatti said that it is a success for the department that the number of hog deer has increased. “Soon hog deer will also be released at national game reserves and parks.