Bhopal: Ironically, when government is spending huge amounts on wildlife conservation, there is no veterinary doctor in Madhya Pradesh who is specialized in treatment of tigers.

The state which is rich in biodiversity and wildlife has nine national parks and 25 wildlife sanctuaries. These wildlife territories have as many as 257 tigers, for which only handful of un-specialized veterinary doctors are available to provide medical care.

The figures were revealed in a response to an RTI application filed by activist Ajay Dubey in June 2011.

In reply to the application, it came into light that there are five veterinary doctors with Forest Department who do not hold any specialisation in treatment of wild animals.

Claiming that Forest Department lacks specialized manpower for the treatment of wild cats, Dubey said, “For handling wildlife cases, the veterinary doctor need to have a special diploma from Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in Bareiley. However, the doctors at MP Forest Department do not hold this degree.”

IVRI is the only institute in the country that gives specialised diploma and training in Wildlife medical studies.

Preferring anonymity, one of the senior Forest Department official said, “For handling wildlife cases we require experienced doctors. Simple veterinary doctors cannot understand the physiology of wild animals’ especially tigers.”

Moreover, experts say that poor salary structure of doctors is responsible for doctors not joining the department. If salary and facilities for doctors are increased, then more veterinary doctors could join the profession of treating the wildlife.

However, the state government is still in the state of deep slumber and has appointed three unspecialised doctors on contract basis.