Government, rescuers join hands for wildlife

Jun 22, 2014, 07:49 IST | Neha LM Tripathi

For the first time, a Ministry of Environment and Forests workshop with wildlife NGOs and rescuers is being held in the state to ensure adherence to best practices

It is common for locals to call up the nearest NGO or a wildlife rescuer when an animal in the city needs rescuing or medical attention. Now, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has stepped in to educate rescuers about rules, ethics and protocol in place for such operations.

A chameleon which was recently rescued and released at Yeoor forest in Thane. File pic

On June 27, in a first-of-its-kind effort, officials from the forest department and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) will conduct a workshop for wildlife rescuers at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).

Since all native animals come under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, they are the property of the state, and their rescue, the government’s prerogative.

Several NGOs and individuals are active in wildlife rescue, rehab and release activities in many suburbs of Mumbai and Thane. Through this workshop, officials hope to detect and discontinue certain incorrect practices, if any, in wildlife rescue, rehab and release.

“Since many government and NGOs work for the protection and conservation of wildlife, we think this initiative will only help streamline the efforts. The forests and its wildlife will benefit if all the concerned parties work together, maintain transparency and follow protocol,” said Suresh Thorat, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (APCCF), wildlife Mumbai.

Shakuntala Majumdar, President of Thane Society for Protection of Cruelty to Animals (TSPCA) said wildlife rescue is complete only when all legal formalities are followed, which includes intimating the forest department and maintaining paperwork, attestation of the paperwork by the concerned wildlife officer and release of species in presence of forest officials.

“We will share details of the procedures we follow during each rescue as it has been approved by the forest department,” she said. M Maranko, Regional Deputy Director in-charge of WCCB (Western Region) will discuss wildlife crime and related topics at the workshop.
The workshop will also highlight important topics such as shortage of space for rescued wildlife. NGOs face grave issues when they require police support if an animal is in distress or if they hear of an illegal act related to wildlife. The cops are often unaware of the role they are supposed to play in this regard.

“The forest department and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau plan to hold a workshop for the cops, too, where they will be made aware of their duties during wildlife distress or illegal cases being reported,” said Pawan Sharma, Founder, Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW).

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