Needed: Wildlife rescue centre at Chanda
Mazhar Ali, TNN, Aug 23, 2010, 05.09am IST
CHANDRAPUR: The absence of a proper facility where stressed and injured animals rescued from the wild could be treated was once again felt after an ailing tigress died of prolonged illness and senility in Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) a few days back.
Despite the recommendation of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to shift the tigress to a suitable facility where constant attention of a veterinary officer would be available, TATR officials failed to find such place for the critically ailing beast anywhere in Vidarbha.
The ailing tigress, named Zarina, was kept in TATR and was treated by a team of veterinary doctors from Nagpur and Chandrapur. An NTCA team comprising expert wildlifers monitored her condition. Zarina stayed in the small squeeze cage for one-and-a-half months. After examining the condition of the tigress during treatment, the NTCA team had ruled out her release into the wild.
But she needed to be shifted to a place where constant attention of a veterinary officer was available. Her weak health was a constraint for long journey. The authorities looked for facilities like Maharajbagh Zoo, Seminary Hills in Nagpur and Rambagh in Chandrapur, but none was found suitable. A written statement issued by TATR said Maharajbagh zoo was unable to receive Zarina because of restriction under zoo regulations and inadequate veterinary care facility. Absence of suitable enclosure, vicinity to children's park and residential area were constraints for shifting her to Rambagh area in Chandrapur. Even Seminary Hills at Nagpur did not have suitable enclosure and has high disturbance level.
Thus, all three locations were ruled out and Zarina was kept in a small squeeze cage and treated in TATR. "We have strongly recommended establishment of wildlife rescue centre in Chandrapur district in our report forwarded to NTCA. Man-animal conflict in Chandrapur district is high and the case of Zarina was not the first one. Hence, a permanent facility is badly needed in Chandrapur," said member of NTCA team and senior conservationist Kishor Rithe. He claimed that such a facility would also provide employment to over two dozen local people.
Rithe, however, lamented the lack of political will in building of such a facility. "When it is some other developmental issue, politicians are hyperactive in pushing the project. However, when it comes to wildlife protection, politicians are least interested," said Rithe. He appealed to the MLAs and MP in the district to take up the issue.
Notably, the issue of building rescue centre for wildlife in Chandrapur in pending since 2008. More than two dozen predators, including many tiger cubs, were captured in forests of Chandrapur and shifted either to Maharajbagh zoo in Nagpur and elsewhere during last two and half years.
Former forest minister Babanrao Pachpute had assured then MLA Shobhatai Fadanvis in legislative assembly to build a wildlife rescue centre during winter session of 2008. It is almost two years now, but the forest department has failed to build the facility so far.
Chandrapur forest circle has forwarded a proposal to build a wildlife rescue centre here a couple of months back. CF, Chandrapur circle, GRK Rao agreed that there is a proposal of building a wildlife rescue centre in Chandrapur.
"We have marked a land aside Rangers College here for the rescue centre. The facility will have large enclosures and other amenities to treat and nurse at least eight wild animals at once. The proposal has been forwarded to PCCF office and its clearance is awaited," said Rao.