Hyderabad: There are a large number of vacancies in the Telangana forest department at the field level in all forest areas – as evident from the fact that volunteers had to be roped in to help out in the Tiger census conducted between January 22 and January 29. This was the observation made by the volunteers worked alongside forest officials in the census exercise.
Analysis of the profiles of the volunteers who participated in the census shows that they came from a diverse background and professions — scientists and also R&D personnel in organisations like Indian Immunological Institute, ICRISAT, medicine company researchers, mechanical engineers, retired director general from GSI, retired manager of ITC, engineering students. Volunteers have requested the forest department to conduct a monitoring exercise at state level every year at least in protected areas without waiting for the AITE to be conducted once in four years.
Some volunteers also travelled to Hyderabad from outside the state from places like Bengaluru, Chennai, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, AP and NRIs on vacation. Besides this, there were animal lovers and members of various NGOs who didn’t want to miss out on the big wildlife-count opportunity.
Several volunteers said that they are willing to work with the forest department in future, particularly for better protection and management of forests and wildlife.
Many volunteers wanted to participate in “making forests and Protected Areas plastic-free” by taking up a cleaning drive with the forest department. They also expressed the need for a program to create awareness among local communities towards conservation of forests and wildlife. A total of 373 volunteers took part in the survey.