Anamalai Tiger Reserve struggles without a dedicated veterinarian

The Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) is yet to get a dedicated veterinarian despite being a protected habitat of endangered species such as tiger, elephant, the Nilgiri tahr (also the State animal of Tamil Nadu), Lion-tailed Macaque and home to more than 20 camp elephants.

Sources in the Forest Department said that lack of a dedicated veterinarian was causing various difficulties as the ATR administration needs to wait for the arrival of veterinarians from Coimbatore Forest Division or the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) for important veterinary interventions.

The ATR administration is currently seeking the support of A. Sukumar, Forest Veterinary Officer of Coimbatore Forest Division, and veterinarian Rajesh Kumar of MTR for important veterinary interventions ranging from treatment of camp elephants to autopsy of animals like tiger. Assistance of local government veterinarians are sought for small works, they said.

The tiger reserve with two forest divisions namely Pollachi and Tiruppur has a core area of 958.59 sq km as per the Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) Report of Tiger Reserves - 2018 released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority. It was also ranked fourth among the then 50 tiger reserves in the country with an MEE rating of 89.06 %.

ATR currently has 27 camp elephants at its two elephant camps -- Kozhikamuthi and Varagaliyar. The camp elephants require veterinary care when they fall sick or males develop musth.

Sources said that various representations were made to the higher-ups seeking appointment of a dedicated veterinarian for ATR, but there was no resolve.

According to them, the tiger reserve also lacks a modified truck for the transportation of kumkis to faraway places for various operations. At present, trucks belonging to Coimbatore Forest Division and other places are used to transport kumkis. They added that ATR is also in need of a weighing machine to check the weight of camp elephants.

“All tiger reserves should have a veterinarian. Though ATR is part of the Coimbatore Forest Circle [under which Coimbatore Forest Division has a veterinarian], it is better to have a separate veterinarian for ATR. Veterinarians of Coimbatore Forest Division and MTR often need to attend to emergencies in other places too,” said K. Kalidasan of Osai environmental organisation.

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Printable version | May 17, 2022 10:35:39 pm |