Here comes another wildlife week. High flown pronouncements from politicians and top brasses of the forest department are round the corner. We have been hearing these pronouncements that sound hollow for the past many years. All that is said and promised are forgotten with nauseating regularity after the wildlife week.
The bedrock of conservation is committed front line staff led by able and dedicated officers. This has always been a neglected area is spite of repeated calls from men who know the heartthrob of conservation. The reserves are more often than not either understaffed or staffed by under trained men past their prime. Most often these men have no particular interest in wildlife and are there just because they have been posted there. Men with genuine love for wildlife are the crying need of the hour.
Why is it that we cannot build committed team of officers and men in wildlife reserves? What we have right now are couple of officers and men, with genuine love for wildlife, here and there. The stumbling block is sheer lack of political will. Extraneous considerations injected by local politicos’ makes conservation a mockery. Take the example of much touted eco-development programme of Periyar. The whole project is on the verge of collapse because of rampant political interference.
If conservation is to be a success there has to a consensus that politicians will keep their hands off, from day to day affairs of the park. Central Government and other funding agencies should stick to and insist on this. They should also insist on posting of dedicated officers with adequate and appropriate training.