Pilibhit has 58 big cats but no wildlife vet (India)


Keshav Agrawal|, Times of India

Date Published


There are more than 40 tigers, 18 leopards, a large number of sloth bear and different species of deer and antelopes in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) but no one to take care of them in case they are taken ill or are injured. The absence of a wildlife veterinarian was felt after the autopsy of an elephant calf that had been found dead near the Indo-Nepal border area of Pilibhit district on September 14. Its autopsy was carried out by three veterinary surgeons who did not have expertise to deal with pachyderms. Now, district magistrate Masoom Ali Sarvarhas has written to the state government for the appointment of a wildlife veterinary surgeon and facilities.

In the absence of facilities for conducting surgery or autopsy, the authorities at PTR and the social forestry sent the carcasses of wild carnivores to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute at Bareilly for an autopsy. Many injured herbivorous are referred to IVRI’s medical aid department. Sometimes, said divisional director of social forestry Adarsh Kumar, injured wild animals die while being transported to IVRI. He recalled that a black buck that had sustained compound fractures in its hind legs after it was hit by a four-wheeler on National Highway-74 near Shahi village on April 28 last year died with by the time it arrived in Bareilly as its condition deteriorated on the way.

District magistrate Sarvar said he had sent a requisition to the state administration for appointing an expert wildlife veterinary surgeon at Pilibhit as well for providing necessary infrastructure for conducting surgery and autopsy of wild creatures with advanced equipment.The project report along with the cost assessment would be sent to the state after the proposal was approved in principal, he said.

Meanwhile, a senior scientist at the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India, Dr Parag Nigam, told TOI that “the institute provides a post-graduate diploma in advanced wildlife management. Many veterinary surgeons undergo this course to attain dexterity in the field of wildlife.”