Mumbai: Tigers to get own doctors
The National Tiger Conservation Authority orders chief wildlife wardens to get cadre of vets at the earliest
The forest department will not have to depend on veterinarians from the animal husbandry department anymore as the National Tiger Conservation Authority has instructed all the state forest departments to have a separate permanent cadre of vets. On November 28, the NTCA had written a letter to the chief wildlife wardens of all Tiger Range states in India.
The letter, signed by Surender Mehra, deputy inspector General of Forest, NTCA, states, "Inspector General of Forest, Regional Office (Southern Zone), NTCA has informed this office regarding the need for placement of full time Veterinary Doctors in Tiger Reserves. You are also aware that while managing the situations of Human Animal Conflict, the role of Veterinary Doctors is very important. Further, there are certain Guidelines and Standard Operation Procedure (SOPs) issued by this Authority for dealing with cases of tiger death, disposal of carcass and management of tigers in human dominated area where it is mandatory to have a veterinary doctor in the concerned team/committee."
The letter states that CWWs of Tiger Range states should take necessary action for ensuring appointment of full-time veterinary doctors in tiger reserves in their respective state. People working in the field of wildlife conservation have welcomed the move, saying that having a dedicated staff will be helpful in dealing with instances of man-animal conflict.
Wildlife veterinarian and forensic expert Dr Prayag HS said, "The contract or even deputation of vets from the animal husbandary department for fixed tenure has not helped in the past nor will it in the future as once the vet goes back after the fixed tenure to his parent department, his vast experience goes to waste. Since wildlife vet science is advancing rapidly, periodic training and hands-on workshops, and updating one's skill set is much needed. It will make vets more confident of handling different types of wildlife cases."
Conservation photographer Sarosh Lodhi from Conservation, Lens and Wildlife, "The increase in population coupled with deforestation will give rise to man-animal conflict scenarios. A dedicated veterinarian per Tiger Reserve is the need of the hour. This will enable the departments to expedite rescue operations without any delay."
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