Staff Correspondent

Project estimated to cost Rs. 30 crore; civil works under way at Doddaluvara village in Somwarpet taluk

It will offer courses in wildlife, undertake research in wildlife medicine and nutrition

It aims at creating awareness among local people on wildlife conservation

Madikeri: Civil works for establishing the Wildlife Veterinary Research Institute in Kodagu have begun at Doddaluvara village in Somwarpet taluk.

The project, estimated to cost Rs. 30 crore, is being promoted by the State Government under the Karnataka Veterinary and Animal Sciences and Fisheries Sciences University, Bidar.

The institute is coming up on 72.44 acres of land for which Rs. 2 crore had been granted, S. Nagaraju, Officer on Special Duty of the institute, told The Hindu. Of the land allotted to the institute by the district administration, 22 acres had already been taken into possession, he said.

Work on the compound wall up to an extent of 2.4 km was in progress. A hostel and a temporary office block were being constructed, he said. He displayed the blueprint for the institute, claimed to be first of its kind in the country.

The institute would offer postgraduate diploma, masters degree and Ph.D. in wildlife, which would be a specialised subject in the country, Dr. Nagaraju said.

Research in wildlife medicine and nutrition, breeding, management of wildlife diseases, wildlife biology and wildlife behaviour would be carried out at the institute, he said.

Facilities would be set up for diagnosing wildlife diseases and in-service training would be provided to those working in the zoological gardens, national parks and wild safaris, he said.

Dr. Nagaraju said that the institute would aim at creating awareness among local people on conservation of wildlife. Research on cellular and molecular genetics of animals, forensic laboratory activities and investigation methods to be undertaken here would be the first in India. The Forest Department would be involved in the functioning of the institute.

In the short-time course category, postgraduate diplomas would be awarded in wildlife breeding, healthcare and management.

The long-term courses would include M.Sc. in wildlife, M.VSc. in Wildlife and Ph.D. Experienced teaching faculty was being recruited, and wildlife experts would be invited for lectures, Dr. Nagaraju said.

A mini-zoo will be established on the campus, with demonstration units to study behaviour of animals, their morphological and physiological changes in small numbers. “Wildlife study was still in an infant stage in India. No one was sure of the exact behaviour of wild animals. We would like to make this a model institution in the entire country,” he said.

A tie-up with an international university has also materialised and the institute was sure to hog international attention in the area of wildlife studies, Dr. Nagaraju said.

The Government would constitute an advisory board comprising senior officials of the Forest Department and wildlife experts among others.

Executive Director of the Mysore Zoo and Madikeri Deputy Conservator of Forests will represent the Forest Department.