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Forest department begins "bio-fencing"

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V.S. Palaniappan

Coimbatore: The Coimbatore Circle of the forest department in association with the animal husbandry department has started a bio-fencing exercise by vaccinating stray cattle in the fringe areas of the reserve forest.

Bio-fencing is vaccinating and de-worming domestic cattle in the fringe areas of the forest against the dreaded and common diseases such as Anthrax and Foot and Mouth to ensure that they do not act as carriers of any disease when they venture into the jungles for grazing.

According to the Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle, Rakesh Chandra Purwar, the exercise has already been completed along the fringe areas of the forest along the boundaries of Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park at Pollachi. A similar drive was being planned across the Coimbatore division and in the divisions and wildlife sanctuary in the Nilgiris across the Coimbatore Circle. Vaccination of wildlife is not possible hence vaccination of the domestic cattle, say sources.

The animal husbandry department provided the vaccine, manpower and expertise, while the forest department provided the ground support and logistics in vaccinating the domestic cattle in the villages across the reserve forest boundaries.

A team of officers led by Joint Director of Animal Husbandry, Coimbatore, Dr. Sivaramakrishanan along with the forest officials led by the

Wildlife Warden of Indira Gandhi Sanctuary, K.R. Varadharajan and Forest Veterinarian, Dr.N.S. Manoharan conducted the vaccination camp at Pollachi and Udumalpet areas. These camps helped in vaccinating thousands of cattle along the boundaries of the reserve forest.

The effort is just to prevent spreading of diseases when the domestic cattle stray into the forest and establishes an interface with the wildlife through water, food or excreta. Due to lack of awareness, the cattle owners failed to bring it to the dispensaries for vaccination. Through this bio-fencing exercise the forest department provided a platform besides the logistics for vaccinating the stray cattle against dreaded diseases.

The forest department was not only preventing diseases to wildlife by getting the stray cattle vaccinated but also mobilising the villagers to avail the services of the animal husbandry department.

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