In a bid to put an end to the insensitivity meted out to wild animals that are increasingly found straying into human habitats, the Forest Department has issued a set of guidelines that makes scientific handling of such animals mandatory.
According to the new guidelines, Forest Department personnel will not only have to immediately attend to the rescue of such animals, but also ensure that the animals are healthy and disease-free before releasing them into the forest.
“Human contact and human habitats are often infectious to animals. As such, one needs to exercise extreme caution when it comes to dealing with animals that have strayed into such habitats. Otherwise one might end up harming the particular stray animal and all the wild animals of the forest to which it is released. The precautions are necessary even when it comes to monkeys or snakes,” said a senior officer from the Forest Department.
The new guidelines state that, on receiving information on wild animals straying into human habitats, Forest officials should reach the spot immediately and catch the animals using scientific techniques.
For this, the officials are free to rope in an expert. The animal would then have to be examined by a veterinary expert with jurisdiction and treated if necessary. The animal must be released only under the certification of fitness of the veterinary expert. The animals must only be released into a habitat which is suitable for its survival. If this is not done, the animals will stray back into human habitation or could face hardships and perish, the Forest Department notes in its circular.
“It came to our notice that a few officers were not handling the animals scientifically. It is under this context that the guidelines were issued. Similar guidelines are being followed in several parts of the world when it comes to handling the wild animals that stray into human habitats,” said Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) V Gopinathan.