Thanjavur Corporation is holding discussions with the Forest department to find temporary accommodation for deer and other animals at Sivagangai Park.
The park is to be renovated under the Smart City programme.
At present, there are 32 deer, three foxes, a dozen rabbits and zucchini rats (seemai eli) at the park. Pigeons are also housed in a cage.
The deer and other animals are likely to be moved to Aringar Anna Zoological Park at Vandalur, or to an animal park near Salem soon. As per the tender conditions, the renovation work at Sivagangai Park should be completed in about six months.
The 10-acre land, abutting Sivagangai Tank of Brahadeeswarar Temple, was turned into a park after Independence and recreational facilities such as toy train, boating, swimming pool and water slides were added in phases.
But, according to sources, the park lost its sheen as the civic body was not able to maintain the facilities due to paucity of funds for the last five to six years.
However, the animals continued to be maintained in enclosures as the civic staff on duty at the park reared them “as their own family members.”
Now, the ₹8-crore tender for renovation and improvment of public utilities at the park is almost finalised with an important condition: the greenery should not be disturbed unless absolutely necessary.
Hence, civic officials have entered into discussions with the Forest department to find alternative accomodation for the animals.
“We know that once we lose ownership over the animals, particularly deer, the park may lose one of its important attractions. The enclosure in which the deer are lodged can be improved in such a manner that there is enough space for the animals to move around and graze,” sources said.
“At present, the park attracts 400 to 500 visitors daily and the number doubles during vacation and festival periods as there is no other recreational avenue available in this region,” they pointed out.
To a query on posts in social media claiming that the animals are not provided with water, they say the staff provide adequate drinking water to the animals regularly.