The state forest department will set up a health clinic for animals in north Bengal, along with two research laboratories.
The clinic will come up at the mini zoo in South Khayerbari of Alipurduar, while the labs will be built at the Bengal Safari Park which is on the outskirts of Siliguri.
“The health clinic will be built to provide treatment to wild animals as well as animals that have been rescued from different locations. The laboratories, on the other hand, will take up research works on molecular biology and cryopreservation. Both the facilities will help in the conservation of wild animals in north Bengal,” said Saumitra Dasgupta, head of the forest force and the principal chief conservator of forests of the state.
Cryopreservation is a process to preserve cells, tissues, and other biological organelles at a low temperature.
In north Bengal, officials of the state forest department and wildlife conservationists have time and again underscored the need to set up a full-fledged clinic for wild animals.
“It has been found that in case of an animal suffering grievous injury or if there is an outbreak of critical disease, medical experts had to be brought from Calcutta and other places for treatment. If the clinic here starts functioning in a full-fledged manner, it will help in the conservation of different wildlife species,” said Animesh Bose, who has been working for nature and wildlife conservation in this region.
He mentioned that in February 2020, six rhinos had died in the Jaldapara National Park — the largest rhino habitat in the state — but foresters are yet to know the cause of such deaths.
“If we need to carry out any molecular biological test of any sample, we have to send the samples to the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad. Once the lab opens here, such tests can be conducted here and we can get early results,” said a forester.
As of now, there is a veterinary officer in the park. There are plans to post another veterinary officer in Sukna, which is on the northern outskirts of Siliguri and the entry point of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary.