Staff paucity leaves Wildlife department helpless in north Kashmir

Staff paucity leaves Wildlife department helpless in north Kashmir

Baramulla: The Wildlife department is facing staff shortage across northern Kashmir making it difficult for the department to ensure safety of animals and humans from each other.
The department is meant to protect wildlife and their habitats, while bringing man-animal conflict to a minimal.
But the man-animal conflicts in the northern districts of Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora are only seeing an upsurge.
Sources in the Wildlife department said that the department has only 60 employees for the three northern districts spread over a vast area prone to man- animal conflicts.
The districts cover far flung areas like Uri, Handwara, Kupwara, Karnah, Keran, Tangmarg, Gulmarg, Gurez, where people live very close to forests, bringing them in conflict with wild life.
Given the paucity of staff, the department is unable to keep the animals away from human habitations.
A senior official in the department, wishing not to be named said that, each day they receive 20 to 30 calls from far flung areas, (Uri, Karnah Tangmarg Gurez), seeking help.
“We have sub stations in every area but just two employees at most of the centres,” he said.
“Last week we received a phone call from Kupwara, that a black bear is roaming in civilian area, we rushed to the spot and installed a cage. At the same time we received a call from Uri, that a leopard was hit and injured by a vehicle. At the same time a leopard was spotted in Kandi area of Baramulla, we have three rescue vehicle, we have equipments like cages and other but we have shortage of frontline staff, that is why we can’t reach every place in proper time,” the official said while insisting for requirement of more staff, particularly the field staff at lower levels.
“There should have been over 500 men with at least 10 vehicles with modern equipments,” he added.
Another official said the government has not recruited a single person in the past decade, while each month two to three people leave office through retirement.
“You can imagine how we can stop more incidents,” he said.