BBMP, forest dept squabble over wildlife rescue team

Rajesh and Mohan with a rescued kite, and Jayraj with a dead common Trikent snake in front of the BBMP office on Saturday. The men demanded remuneration and asked the BBMP DFO to give permission to rescue animals. DH Photo/S K Dinesh

Caught between the Palike and the forest department, the BBMP wildlife rescue team is unsure as to whose jurisdiction they fall under.

Volunteers of the rescue team complained that the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) wants to move the rescue team under the forest department, as ‘they find wildlife rescue an extra burden on their heads’. Forest officials, on the other hand, say the rescue work comes under the BBMP and the department is not authorised to take over.

 “The rescue team came into force in 2008 and we have been working really great since then, which even earned us a national award. The money of Rs 25 lakh that was sanctioned on animal rescue by the government to BBMP was not used. Looks like we are a headache to BBMP and that’s why they want to move us to the forest department,” said Prasanna Kumar, a volunteer.

 He added, “We have been writing to the mayor about this for the past three months. She said that the palike will take a decision on this soon.” The mayor said that the decision will be taken once the model code of conduct is relaxed.

 The snake catchers of BBMP are also in dilemma as to whose words to follow. “Because of these indecisions, not only we are suffering but also animals. When I called up the deputy conservator of forest (DCF), he asked me to contact DCF Urban for any queries regarding snake catching or animal rescues as he is responsible only for tree cutting, survey and management of trees,” said Mohan, another volunteer.  The snake catchers complained that they have not been given honorarium for the past three months now. “I am not authorised to take any decision based on that, only DCF, Urban can take,” said Cholarajappa.

Kite rescued

The BBMP rescue team saved a Black Kite from Basavanagudi on Saturday. “The residents said that the bird was lying on the road for a day suffering from injuries for some reason. Despite calling the BBMP officials of the ward, they did not take any action. Finally, we were given a call after which we rescued the bird.” said Mohan, who rescued the bird. The bird will be given necessary treatment by the team.

 

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