Unwanted guest

time and again wildlife activists have maintained that wildlife management in India is governed more by bureaucratic decisions than any scientific or practical reasoning. Here is one such instance.

The transfer of a seven-year-old snow leopard from the City Forest National Park in Srinagar to Darjeeling has kicked up a furore. She was only 15 days old when forest officials rescued her from the Kargil forests in a very critical condition. Rescued along with her was another cub which, unfortunately, succumbed to injuries en route to Srinagar.

After rearing the animal for the past seven years, the Jammu and Kashmir government has now decided to transfer the snow leopard to Darjeeling to make West Bengal's captive breeding programme successful, leaving its own in shambles. "We had our own captive breeding programme and we were searching for a male snow leopard to start it. But it did not materialise. Now the state has decided to shift the animal to Darjeeling where the West Bengal government is starting a captive breeding programme of this animal,' says Mir Mansoor Ahmad, veterinarian of the wild life department and caretaker officer of the snow leopard.

However, the shifting of this animal has triggered a controversy within the wildlife department. The officials of the department are divided in their opinions: one section is strictly against the leopard's transfer, while another quietly acquiesces to this bureaucratic decision.
The disenchanted section of employees accuse the bureaucrats of