LAHORE - Six hog deer worth Rs 150,000 have been stolen from Jallo Wildlife Park in the wee hours of Sunday. One deer has been recovered while three Wildlife Department employees - head watcher, watcher and a chowkidar of the park have been arrested for collusion with poachers. Poverty is stated to be the reason for employees deplorable act. The incident came to light when the morning group of staff came to take charge and taking the count they found six animals missing. On the complaint of Anwar Maan, Wildlife Department Deputy Director, the three suspected employees Kabeer Shah, Muhammad Ashraf and Humayun were arrested and subjected to ongoing investigation. Jallo Park is reserve station where breeding of wild animals is carried out. Currently there are 204 deer of different kinds in the park. Till Saturday there were 112 hog deer. They are kept there for breeding before being transferred to other places in Punjab for breeding or for hunt in trophy events organised by the Wildlife Department. Director and Incharge of the park Mian Muhammad Ajmal talking to The Nation dismissed the earlier reports of stealth of animals and said the deer had crossed through some ruptured portion of the cage and disappeared in the nearby fields. "One deer has been recovered and we hope to recover all of them very soon," Ajmal said during his visit to the police station where the three employees were being interrogated. Earlier Director General Sher Alam had said that teams had been constituted to recover the remaining five animals. "Special announcements have been made through mosques and teams with search lights are being sent to recover the animals. Sources in the Wildlife Department said the matter was being hushed up. "It is Eid time. Poverty forced the watchers to act in collusion with the poachers. A watcher has monthly salary of Rs 4,500 while that of head watcher is Rs 7,000. The price of hog deer as per the price value revised by National Council for Conservation of Wildlife is Rs 25,000. The poachers could have approached these employees promising to give them some money. They may not have paid them more than Rs 10,000 each," sources said. Hog deer are sturdy animals and are not rare. They are found in the wild in riverine areas and their enclosures at the Jallo Park are also large to facilitate the animals. The job of watchers is to look after the animals and protect them. They are also supposed to keep check on the visitors in order to ensure that the animals are not harmed in any way. "The incident should serve as an eyeopener to the authorities. It is high time the salaries of employees are raised in view of the high inflation and price hike," sources in the department said.