Poaching has done to them what the ever-depleting forest cover in the district could not.
Despite habitat destruction, spotted deer and black bucks multiplied their numbers, but it looks like expansion plans have just been stalled by the greed of man.
The deer and black buck population saw phenomenal rise in the Marriguda mandal in recent years. However, local farmers say the animals are now being hunted by some non-local poachers.
Surprisingly, about 1,000 deer have turned agricultural fields located between Bheemanapalli, Sarampet, Vattipalli, Indurthi, Namapuram, Kottala and Lenkalapalli into their habitation over the past 20 years.
Interestingly, this is no forest area – they would simply eat in the fields and sleep near the Bheemanapalli village tank. This would be a total spread of about 100 acres.
Previously, there were about 500 acres of uncultivated land between these villages, that was used for cattle-grazing by local farmers. The deer would also inhabit the same area. But, following the boom in the realty sector, the farmers sold these lands to some Hyderabad-based businessmen.
They removed the scrubs and brought it under cultivation four years ago, rendering the animals homeless.
Seventy-year-old Doddeti Maraiah of Bheemnapalli told The Hindu that local residents would protect the deer despite their crops being damaged by the animals. He said they regret having sold the land to the realtors from the city, as they have allegedly been poaching the animals with the help of some locals.
A farmer, Itagoni Yadaiah Goud, told this correspondent over phone that he had again seen jeep-tyre marks in his field and also blood stains, which meant that another of the animals had been killed.
Another villager, Ganta Ravi, said the wild animals were starving for food and water as there were no green pastures to graze.
With the prevailing dry spell, he said the water in the Bheemanapalli tank, the sole source for drinking water for them, had almost dried up.
The villagers have appealed to the government to come up with a conservation plan to protect the rare animal from poachers.
Deer and black buck population saw phenomenal rise in Marriguda mandal but farmers here say the animals are now being poached