Madhya Pradesh State Lacks Wildlife Health Policy

Madhya Pradesh State Lacks Wildlife Health Policy

More than 70 per cent of emerging zoonotic diseases are thought to have originated from wildlife.

Rajan RaikwarUpdated: Monday, August 21, 2023, 07:33 PM IST
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Madhya Pradesh State Lacks Wildlife Health Policy | Representative Image

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Madhya Pradesh Wildlife Action Plan 2023-2043, which throws light on strengthening Wildlife Health Services, indicates that state has no wildlife health policy.

Many infectious diseases such as SARS, ebola, Covid-19, monkeypox, avian influenza, which are zoonotic in nature, pose a serious threat to humans and animals.

More than 70 per cent of emerging zoonotic diseases are thought to have originated from wildlife.

The state Wildlife Action Plan 2023-2043 (Free Press has copy) states that Madhya Pradesh has faced a fair share of challenges in managing the wildlife health as some diseases like feline Panleukopenia (FPL), Epitheliotriopic Elephant Herpes Virus (EEHV), Avian Infleunza, Tuberculosis (TB), Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), rabies etc have impacted wild animals and livestock inside Protected Areas.

Large number of gharial deaths in National Chambal Sanctuary in winter of 2007-2008 drew attention and involvement of veterinarians from around the world. Yet, the cause of mass mortality and sudden disappearance could not be ascertained.

With increasing interaction between humans and wildlife, the occurrence of infectious diseases is likely to become more frequent, leading to local extinction of wildlife and pandemics that can wipe out entire species.

Considerable work has been done in the field of wildlife health management in last 20 years but the available data is seldom analysed and reported, leading to loss of information that may have helped in formulating a policy.

To counter threat of zoonotic diseases, the state government established School for Wildlife Forensic and Health (SWFH) in 2009 in collaboration with Nanaji Deshmukh Veterinary Sciences University. However, the coordination between SWFH and the state forest department is not seamless.

The report of State Wildlife Action Plan underlines that there is no proper documentation on wildlife health related incidents in the state. Moreover, there is inadequate research on feline diseases. It advocated state-level wildlife health policy and said that tiger reserves, national parks, sanctuaries should have a wildlife disease surveillance and management protocol.

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