GUWAHATI, Jan 18 � The abortive bid by a Manipur-based poacher to kill rhinos inside the Assam State Zoo campus last week has sent the Forest authorities into a tizzy, and the zoo is likely to witness manpower and infrastructure augmentation in the days ahead.
Even though the sensational poaching attempt last week could be foiled due to the zoo security staff�s alertness, the incident has nevertheless brought to the fore constraints plaguing the zoo-cum-botanical garden�s management that have not yet got the desired attention.
Sources in the Forest Department revealed that manpower shortage had been a problem for quite some time, as the existing staff is not adequate to maintain round-the-clock vigilance in the sprawling area. The undulating and thickly-forested landscape in the zoo also makes it imperative to have a team of well-equipped and physically fit personnel.
Sources said that the requirements of the zoo have been assessed following the incident, and that interventions should be forthcoming. �The matter is being taken up at the highest level, and we expect the constraints to be addressed at the earliest,� sources added.
Sources said that the zoo master plan had long back recommended installation of CCTVs at strategic points besides calling for infrastructure augmentation and manpower induction. But many of the recommendations await implementation.
Forest authorities suspect that the poaching bid could be part of a well-orchestrated move on the part of international rackets in the illegal wildlife body part trade to target animals like rhinos inside the zoo. �But we are confident of putting in place a matching security mechanism to meet the growing threats,� sources said.