Wild animals, including bear and boars, have once again been noticed roaming freely in the vicinity of Lord Balaji temple at Tirumala this weekend, posing a threat to thousands of devotees who pay a visit to the shrine every day.

Officials of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) trust that oversees the operations and finances of the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, have started fixing meshes at the entry points to prevent wild animals from entering the temple premises, reports Deccan Chronicle.

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Tirupati Balaji [representational image]Creative commons

Due to less human activity

In the absence of human activity due to the COVID-19 lockdown last year, wild animals were seen moving in large herds in search of food at various locations, which remained off-limits to them earlier in the temple town.

The Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is nestled amidst the Tirumala hills, which form part of the Seshachalam biosphere reserve and home to many wild and endangered animals. During the lockdown days, residents of Alipiri frequently complained of spotting deer, sambhar and wild boars in large numbers.

Wild boars

As a result, TTD  has erected a five feet long iron fencing in front of 'Maha Dwaram' of the Lord Balaji temple to prevent animals straying into the premises and approaching the place of worship.

When the darshan of Lord Venkateswara was stopped in March last year and until September when lockdown measures were eased, the ghat roads became empty barring the occasional movement of government vehicles and often witnessed herds of deer and other wild animals in large numbers.

Several videos of deer crossing the Tirumala ghat roads have gone viral on social media as well. But while the rise in animal activity was presumed to be a welcome sign, TTD officials are worried that once human activity resumes in full, there might be casualties on the roads.

Wildlife on diet of garbage dump

According to TTD officials, one of the primary reasons why the wild animals frequently visit the hill town is the tonnes of garbage that is generated on a daily basis as around 40,000 pilgrims visit Lord Venkateshwara's shrine every day.

Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, TTD vigilance and security officer G. Balireddy said that they are in pursuit of some concrete measures to put permanent end to the problem of wild animals straying onto the streets of the town.

Sri Venkateswara Swamy
Tirumala temple deitiesTirumala Tirupati Devasthanams website

"On Saturday night, we received information about wild boars straying. As an immediate measure, we have arranged iron mesh and chain-links at all entry and exit points along the four mada streets. To put an end to this menace, we are in consultation with forest officials for chalking out plans to erect such fences on the outer corridor of Tirumala, so that the wild animals will not be able to enter the inner corridor," Reddy added.

Relying on advanced surveillance systems, the TTD is currently vigilant about the movement of wild animals and taking measures to keep them at bay from the temple town, the officer said.