SGNP to train Mumbai veterinary students, seek their help to rescue wild animals
Decision was taken to counter the deficit of veterinarians in the statemumbai Updated: Jan 12, 2018 11:07 IST
Officials from the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) have decided to train undergraduates from the Bombay Veterinary College (BVC) to help them in rescuing or tranquillising wild animals such as leopards.
Only those students, who are about to complete their degree will be trained so that officials can seek their help as volunteers after graduation. The decision was taken to overcome the acute shortage of veterinarians in the state.
The forest department has only two veterinarians for the entire state, which creates problems in emergency situations. In December, the SGNP veterinarian and the team reached the spot late where a leopard had to be rescued from a housing colony in Andheri.
At present, veterinarians from the animal husbandry department work for the forest department. The SGNP officials said they will start with capsule courses for undergraduates followed by comprehensive courses in the future.
A senior official from the forest department said, “Though the college helps us in conducting post-mortem of animals, students pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary science (BVSc) do not have wildlife in their syllabus, which does not allow them to be a part of man-animal conflict emergencies.
The official added, “By introducing short courses and teaching them to tranquilise an
animal, we want to avoid any delay in handling a situation that requires immediate action.”
“We are in talks with the college and aim to commence the course within a month,” said Ahmed Anwar, chief conservator of forest, SGNP.
Dr Shailesh Pethe, SGNP veterinarian, said after the students graduate, they can assist officials during emergencies
On December 10, when a leopard from SGNP was spotted near a gurudwara in the Sher-e-Punjab residential colony, forest officials were able to relocate the animal only after twelve hours after it was spotted.
“The park’s rescue team was stationed at Chalisgaon on another mission when the incident took place. They had to rush to the spot as the animal had to be darted to be relocated. This delayed the operation,” Anwar said.