“We are here to see the conservation strategies”
A team of eight veterinary students from Virginia Tech University in the U.S., who are here as part of their 42-day exposure trip to India, are disappointed at being denied entry to core tiger areas following the Supreme Court ban on tourism in these areas.
Welcoming the order aimed at strengthening conservation in core habitats, the students said that the government could distinguish tourists and students on a research trip who have come all the way to learn veterinary practices in sanctuaries.
“Unlike tourists we have not come here to see the tigers and elephants. We are here to see the conservation strategies and treatment to animals, rescued in the wild and the tamed elephants, by veterinarians here”, says Casey Carbaugh, a student who wants to specialise in wildlife medicine. Both Anamalai and Mudumalai Tiger Reserves house elephants in camps.
“Apart from learning the basic veterinary practices in the wild, we also want to interact with forest veterinarians who protect these animals and learn how the corridors, such as the one of the elephants, help in genetic connectivity,” says Sidney, another student.
Both have done projects in their country on how to end destruction of resources of wild animals. “As veterinarians, we study wildlife conservation and educate the common man not to destroy the resources of the fauna and the exposure here will help us,” she adds.
Students from Virgina Tech have been visiting the two tiger reserves for quite some years. “Our seniors who came here in the previous years said that they learnt a lot about wildlife medicine in these reserves. We felt that this international exposure to wildlife would help us specialise in treating a variety of fauna. The closure is disappointing,” said Habitareuther, who wants to specialise in international veterinary medicine.