December 26, 2016
Raising concerns over the increased criticism of wildlife vets in Tamil Nadu, Wildlife Veterinarian of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve Dr E Vijayaragavan said that such negativity could restrict others from choosing to work in this area.
Speaking at a meet organised by Osai, an environmental organisation in Coimbatore, on Sunday, Vijayaragavan also noted that the public was not appreciating the good work done by veterinarians. “We work with the Animal Husbandry Department and in Forest Veterinary on deputation, but our good work is not recognised and only the negatives are flashed all over. This prevents vets from choosing the wildlife sector,” he said.
Claiming that vets put their lives at risk while treating wild animals, like tigers, elephants, gaurs and leopards, Vijayaragavan said that people forget that and dismiss the dangerous profession with disparaging comments.
“Even doctors who treat humans commit mistakes sometimes. But our job is very complicated; we need to carry out the diagnosis ourselves and give necessary treatment. It could go wrong sometimes, but largely we succeed,” said Vijayaragavan.
He also claimed that vets are not trained with anaesthetics, but need to tranquilise the animals based on field observations. “We get only limited time to fire the dart and have to carefully approach the animal after the tranquiliser has taken effect,” said the veterinarian.
Commenting on the infamous Madukkarai Maharaj scenario that raised a public outcry, Vijayaragavan said that the animal died because of a skull fracture. “A bone splinter had damaged its brain leading to its death; the dosage given was very safe,” he claimed.
Talking about the pregnant elephant that delivered at the Chadivayal elephant camp, Vijayaragavan said that they knew about the elephant’s pregnancy before it gave birth. “Pregnancy is very hard to identify in elephants. Yet, we gave it the apt food,” said Vijayaragavan.