Now, Ex-servicemen to be deployed at BBP

Now, Ex-servicemen to be deployed at BBP

A day after Anjaneya N (Anji N), an animal-keeper was mauled to death by two white tiger cubs at Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP), Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) has decided to use the expertise of ex-servicemen.

“We have decided to engage ex-servicemen at BBP on the lines of Mysuru zoo. For the last 10 years, retired defence personnel have been working with Mysuru zoo, but no one is keen to join BBP. They say the zoo is located on the city outskirts and logistics are a problem. However, some have shown interest and they will soon be recruited. CCTV cameras will also be installed at strategic locations,” B P Ravi, Member Secretary, ZAK, told DH.

The BBP management is in talks with five retired militarymen. “We have sent letters to five officers requesting them to sign a contract with us. We will request them to join us immediately,” said Santosh Kumar, BBP Executive Director.

BBP also plans to deploy ex-servicemen as supervisors and additional help in animal management. The forest department has decided to deploy two range forest officers from Bannerghatta National Park for zoo management.

Based on a survey of private agencies for ZAK, BBP needs at least 55 more guards. At present 250 people work in BBP, of which 25 are government employees (including zoo director, veterinarian, foresters and 13 animal-keepers). The remaining 225 are contract employees.

Later in the day, a team of officials comprising Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (wildlife) Punnati Sridhar, Additional PCCF and Chief Wildlife Warden C Jayaram, ZAK Chairman Mallige Veeresh and Ravi visited the safari area where Vanya and Jhansi (two 18-month-old white tiger cubs mauled Anji to death on Saturday at around 5.30 pm) are housed. They examined the enclosure and held a meeting with the staff and Huche Gowda, the eyewitness of the whole episode.

During the meeting the officials also decided to provide special training for animal-keepers. They directed to deploy only those as animal keepers who have at least five years of experience.

Since there are many anomalies and unanswered questions, the BBP management has handed over the case to the police. A complaint has also been filed in Bannerghatta Police Station and the case is being investigated in length.

Safari remained closed

Since most of the grief struck staffers did not report to work on Sunday morning, BBP management did not open the safari gates for visitors. This decision was also taken as a precautionary measure. The management has decided not to allow Jhansi and Vanya for safari for few days.

BBP operates one lion safari, three tiger safaris (one of which is white tiger safari), herbivore and sloth bear safari. By closing safari gates, BBP suffered a financial loss of around Rs 8lakh and around 8,000 visitors disappointed.

Compensation

As per forest rules BBP handed over a cheque of Rs five lakh to Akkamadevamma, wife of Anji on Sunday morning. On humanitarian grounds state government has also decided to give additional Rs five lakh to Anji’s family. This amount will be deposited to Anji’s account in a couple of days. Devaraj, 19, son of Anji, has also been given a security guard job in BBP.


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