The Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) authorities in Uttar Pradesh have sought approval to appoint its own veterinary officer, biologist and sociologist instead of outsourcing these services.

PTR Field Director H Rajamohan said he had sought the approval of Uttar Pradesh’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) for appointing these officials on contract basis.

The tiger reserves in Uttar Pradesh have to depend either on veterinary officers of zoos, non-government organisations like the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) or other units during an emergency as none of the tiger reserves and wildlife sanctuaries in the state has its own veterinary officer despite a directive by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

“The NTCA should pay the contractual officers,” said the PTR Director.

Established in 2014, the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve recently faced flak over the death of a tiger minutes after it was tranquilised.

While, appointing a veterinary officer is essential since he would then be accountable for any mishap during the treatment of animals in the tiger reserve, a biologist is needed as well to carry out duties of reviewing the health of big cats, the ratio between herbivores and tigers, the need for changing grass species and the adequacy or deficiency of water bodies, among other things.

The sociologist would educate and inform communities living in the proximity of PTR on the measures needed to minimise man-animal conflict that has been on the rise in recent years.

Amid the nationwide lockdown to curtail Coronavirus pandemic, there are many reports of wild animals coming to towns and cities these days.

A tiger near the Mala forest range of Pilibhit tiger reserve had killed four people till March.

Meanwhile, five persons were injured in a series of attacks by a tiger in the Jari village near the PTR in May.

The tiger also attempted to attack a forest department team that was called in to push it back into the wild. Two persons were injured in this attack.