In the backdrop of two sightings of Gaurs in the urban limits of Pune this month, a coordination meeting between the forest department and Pune Police was held on Wednesday, wherein among other deliberations, it was decided that a nodal officer would soon be designated to coordinate such situations of man-animal conflicts on behalf of police.
On December 9 and 22, gaurs were sighted in the Kothrud and Sutarwadi areas respectively, after having ventured into urban limits from adjacent forest areas. The four-year-old male Gaur, which had ventured into a residential locality in Pune’s Kothrud area and faced an unruly crowd on December 9, died due to suspected exhaustion after its capture by the forest department. Another Gaur was spotted in Sutarwadi area along the bypass road of the Mumbai-Bangalore highway on the morning of December 22. The following evening, forest department teams succeeded in driving the animal back into the adjacent forest area with what they termed as ‘least possible intervention.’
Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife-West) Sunil Limaye said, “During the two incidents, especially the second one, it was realised that for rescuing animals, help from police is very crucial and without it, they become herculean tasks. The role of police is mainly to control the crowd and help the forest department to concentrate on the rescue operation. After the second incident, I had met Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta and it was decided to convene a joint meeting of forest and police officials.”
During the meeting held Wednesday at the Pune Police Commissionerate, Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCP) Rahul Patil gave a brief presentation on the issue of animals entering the cities and the help required from police.
Limaye said, “Mr Gupta was very positive and assured to extend all possible help from police. It was decided to have one contact person, who will be the nodal officer and will coordinate on behalf of police and provide police manpower from local police stations. It was also discussed to pass on the forest department helpline number to all police chowkis and police stations. It was also decided to conduct regular meetings of senior police and forest officers and also meetings of police inspectors and range officers. This would help achieve a great level of coordination and communication among departments.”
The coordination meeting was attended by senior officials including Joint Police Commissioner Ravindra Shisve, Additional Commissioners of Police Jalinder Supekar and Sanjay Shinde, DCPs and police inspectors along with Pune Chief Conservator of Forest Sujay Dodal, Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Pune Ramesh Kumar, Wildlife Board Member Anuj Khare and Neha Panchamiya from ResQ Charitable Trust.
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Speaking to The Indian Express a day after the second incident, Limaye had said the forest department will be undertaking a study to understand the habitat, paths of Gaurs in the forests adjoining city limits. He said Wednesday the study is set to begin soon and will be led by DCP Patil.
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