As a minister, I'm duty-bound to protect wildlife: A K Saseendran

AK Saseendran
A K Saseendran. File Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Forest minister A K Saseendran told the Assembly on Monday that he was duty-bound to protect human life as well as wildlife as a minister. 

He was responding to the opposition's criticism over the forest department's alleged lapses in checking threats to people from wild animals.

“Forest officials are also human beings. We should refrain from discouraging them from taking up their missions. Karnataka was not keen on sharing the animal tracking details with our forest department. We can't blame them. They handed over the tracking system details only after the farmer's death,” the minister said.

He also urged the Opposition to show patience and noted that discussing the matter in the assembly will not yield any results.

“Three forest divisions are currently operating in Wayanad. However, we observed a lack of coordination between officials in these offices. In order to solve the issue, the forest department has decided to open forest control rooms with the cooperation of police and revenue departments. These control rooms will start operation from Monday. 

"Only a single Rapid Response Team is currently allotted for Wayanad district. In view of the surge in human-animal conflicts in the district, it has been decided to form a new RRT by deploying 170 new beat forest officers to the district,” explained the forest minister while talking about the preparations to check wild animal attacks in Wayanad.

The forest minister has come under fire after a radio-collard elephant Belur Makhna trampled Wayanad farmer Ajeesh to death in Mananthavady on Saturday. Though RRT launched a mission to tranquilise and capture the elephant on Sunday, officials failed in the mission.

The team resumed the mission in the wee hours of Monday. According to reports, the officials have tracked the elephant in the Mannundi region.

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