To rein in wilds, forest dept will hire 13 more vets

To rein in wilds, forest dept will hire 13 more vets

Following an increase in the incidents of wild animals, especially tigers, leopards and sloth bears straying out of forests, the Forest department has decided to hire 13 more veterinarians across the State to ensure that the animals are darted quickly and safely.

“We have created 13 veterinarian posts across Karnataka, so that there is one each in the forest division circle. Presently, there are five from the department and eight from various Karnataka zoos. Orders to purchase more tranquillising guns have also been issued. As per rules, only trained veterinarians can dart animals. Hence we have also decided to take the help of NGOs in training veterinarians,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (wildlife) Vinay Luthra told Deccan Herald.

The department has identified an NGO from Mudumalai and is planning to use the services of those who helped in capturing leopards and a tiger at Bheemgad in Belagavi district. But experts opined that they should rather consult trained veterinarians who had served and helped the department in the past.

There have been many cases in the past where both animals and humans have undergone immense stress. Recently, a tigress attacked three cattle in H D Kote. There are also cases where the Forest department officials delayed action, resulting in a casualty. In some cases, agitated mob have even killed the wild animals.

A veterinarian said, “Though the present scenario is not bad, it is always advantageous to have more veterinarians. There is need for more equipment. Citing the example of a sloth bear that was shot dead in Tumakuru by a policeman recently, he added, “The Tumakuru veterinarian was helpless as he did not have the equipment and the Bannerghatta Biological Park team took around three hours to reach the spot.”

Praveen Bhargav, a former member of the National Board for Wildlife, said there was a need for trained veterinarians. But for training, they should use the expertise of the existing trained veterinarians such as Dr B C Chittiappa or Dr Jacob Cheeran, instead of the NGOs. The veterinarians in zoos can be taken back by the parent department. Thus, the Forest department needs its own team.

Dr B C Chittiappa, assistant director, Veterinary Services, Animal Husbandry, Somwarpet taluk, said he was willing to help the Forest department in protecting wildlife.

He was earlier posted at the Bannerghatta Biological Park and has the experience of tranquillising 197 elephants, more than five tigers and umpteen number of leopards and herbivores.

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