An evaluation report based on re-investigation into complaints of mismanagement at the Katraj Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre has once again highlighted the alleged mismanagement at the centre. The re-investigation was carried out by a seven-member committee constituted for the purpose in June by the Pune Forest Division. The mismanagement concerns discrepancies in the number of animals on record and at the centre, officials said. Based on the evaluation report, the forest department is planning legal action against the concerned authorities although it is waiting for the state forest authority’s response, officials said.
N R Praveen, chief conservator of forests, Pune Circle, had constituted the committee to re-investigate the complaints of mismanagement at the centre. The complaints were originally reported in April following which the forest department conducted the probe in the same month. However, the officials decided to go ahead with the re-investigation and the committee conducted the evaluation between June 16 and 17 at the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park Wildlife Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, which is outsourced to the Indian Herpetological Society.
About the findings, Aditya Paranjape, wildlife warden and one of the members of the committee said, “Our committee inspected the animals present (789) at the Indian Herpetological Society as well as the Snake Park next to it, since the inventories were mixed up. We found serious flaws in the management of the centre. Based on our evaluation, a report was submitted to the forest department. Now, the department is planning to take legal action against the management.”
Earlier in April, a team of forest officials had visited the Katraj centre only to find that the records of some of the captive animals were missing. Based on the visit and investigation, a report was prepared and sent to the principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) and chief wildlife warden.
Shriram Shinde, curator, Katraj Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, said, “The committee has carried out an investigation in June. After this, they took away at least 77 animals, some of which were eligible to be released. However, some injured animals too were included.”
“Earlier in May, we also wrote to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) that running this facility is beyond our capacity and that the PMC should think about other options for the same. The issue is pending with the PMC,” Shinde said.