Govt plans animal rescue centres

  • Deer Research Centre in Lalitpur to be converted into Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation facility
- PRAGATI SHAHI, Kathmandu
The move is aimed at protecting wild animals amid escalating human-wildlife conflicts

Oct 9, 2016-Amid escalating human-wildlife conflicts, the government has finally come up with a plan to set up proper wildlife rescue centres inside protected areas, forest areas and community forests, wherever necessary to ensure the proper management of the rescued, injured or orphan wildlife, mostly resulting from such conflicts in different places. 

The new proposal on Wildlife Rescue Centre Management Operation Procedure, prepared by the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MoFSC) last month allows the government and its line agencies, including the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) in coordination with the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), to operate and manage rescue facilities in different areas to ensure proper care of the wildlife. 

In the recent times, there has been increasing incidents of wild animals coming out of their habitats in human settlements, particularly the leopards straying into the city areas as a result of human-wildlife conflicts in and around the protected areas and forests. 

“We are facing problems to provide proper refuge and help in rehabilitation of rescued, orphan and injured animals,” said Prem Kandel, joint-secretary at the MoFSC. According to him, rescue and rehabilitation centres are being established with a goal to successfully return all treated animals to their natural habitats and provide a proper habitat and care inside the rescue centres for those wildlife that cannot be rehabilitated back to their native habitats. 

The government has further envisaged to develop the wildlife rescue centres as a source of education and knowledge sharing platform for the students, researchers and also as touristic site to allow the visitors to watch wildlife and at the same time help the authorities managing the facilities to earn revenues for successful operation. 

Under the new procedure, the government will form a directive committee under the forest secretary and a management committee led by the deputy director general of DNPWC. 

Each rescue centre that will be operated either by the government or its line departments, including the DNPWC in coordination with the NTNC. The centres will be equipped with facilities ranging from proper enclosures to help in transporting the rescued wildlife, veterinary team with necessary equipment and treatment room and wildlife ambulance, among others. 

For the wildlife like tigers, leopards and rhinos, the rescue centre should be equipped with a proper enclosure with necessary facilities like food, water and health equipment to transport them to the rescue centres. 

While transporting the wild animals, there should be a veterinary doctor and team with proper equipment to ensure the safety of the rescued animals, the procedure reads. 

At present, the Central Zoo in Jawalakhel run by the NTNC is the only proper captive facility in the country that provides refuge facility for animals rescued from different parts of the country. 

“We do not have adequate facilities like vehicles, enclosures and trained human resources to work in rescue and rehabilitation. We are not able to reach to all the event related to wildlife emergency,” says Radha Krishna Gharti, a senior veterinarian at the Central Zoo. 

According to him, the number of cases of injured and orphan wildlife, particularly leopards is increasing recently. 

A total six leopards were rescued and brought to the Central Zoo in Jawalakhel in the fiscal year 2015/16. Last month, the Central Zoo rescued a mother leopard with a one-month-old cub from Lalitpur that were later sent to the Tarai for rehabilitation. “The establishment of proper rescue facilities with adequate resources and trained human resources will provide safe environment for the wildlife,” he said. 

A secretary-level meeting of the MoFSC held a few months ago had directed the DNPWC to transform the existing Deer Research Centre in Godavari in Lalitpur district into a Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre to help provide proper care and facilities, including treatment to the wildlife rescued under different circumstances from Kathmandu Valley and neighbouring districts

Published: 09-10-2016 08:43

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