'Dearth of animal trackers'
Times of India
Ahmedabad: The state has insufficient experts to keep track of wildlife literally. There are just 10 expert trackers, all based in Sasan Gir in Junagadh. And, they come to the rescue if operations need to be carried out in any other region.
Recently, for rescue of two leopards in the outskirts of Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, teams were called from Gir. After this and an operation in Panchmahals, the government decided to train more forest staff for rescue and tracking the movements of leopards and lions.
"We have just five teams of two people each and they have to be sent to south, central and north Gujarat apart from Girnar and Bhavnagar areas," said conservator of forests (wildlife), Gir, MM Sharma.
The department has sanctioned the proposal and allocated funds under Gujarat State Lion Conservation Society. An additional team will be based in Surat and experts will train others.
Officials said that in the past too such training was organised but since wildlife division staff were not involved in day-to-day tracking or rescue they didn't develop the expertise needed. Trained trackers need to spend time in Gir area for at least a year in constant touch with wildlife to hone their skills, they added.
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