Kerala

Now, a palliative care unit for big cats in Kerala

The animal hospice and palliative care unit for big cats envisages to treat injured and diseased animals after capture. They will be either rehabilitated or released into the wild after treatment.  

The Forest and Wildlife Department is gearing up to set up an animal hospice and palliative care unit for big cats in Wayanad in view of the rise in cases of tigers straying into human settlements, especially in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.

The sanctuary is home to more than half the number of tigers present in Kerala.

The animal hospice and palliative care unit, the first such initiative in the State, will be set up in the Kurichiad range of forest under the sanctuary, Vijayananthan, Chief Conservator of Forest, Wildlife, Palakkad, said.

“We are planning to set up the unit on five acre on the premises of Vanalakshmi, an abandoned pepper plantation of the department, at Pachadi in the Kurichiad forest range at an estimate of ₹78 lakh,” he said.

“The unit will be a rehabilitation centre for major carnivores such as tigers and leopards and could hold four animals at a time,” he said.

Under the project, injured and diseased animals will be treated at the centre after capturing them. They will either be rehabilitated here or released into the wild after treatment. The construction works have already been tendered and awarded, Mr. Vijayananthan said adding that the project would be completed in three months.

Most of the felines that stray into human settlements are aged ones and will not be able to hunt prey in the wild in case the department lets them out into the forest. Keeping tigers in the custody of the Forest Department is a challenge as zoo authorities are bound by restrictions on keeping the captured felines in custody, he said.

The department has captured five tigers from Wayanad, including a nine-year-old tigress from a tribal settlement near Pulpally on Sunday, in the past two years after they strayed into settlements.

The tigress captured on Sunday is under observation.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 2:47:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/a-palliative-care-unit-for-big-cats-in-kerala/article32957954.ece

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