The government has decided to go ahead with measures to enhance security measures at the Lion Safari Park at Neyyar. The move comes around a month after a 10-year-old tigress’s escape after being brought from Wayanad prompted an elaborate search operation to capture it.
Steps are already afoot to renovate the existing cages — five holding cages and a squeeze cage — at the park. With rusty cage bars rendering the enclosures weak to ensure its confinement, the animal is believed to have broken through the grills.
By endorsing the theory, the Forest Department has also ruled out the possibility of sabotage in the tiger’s escape. The finding was recorded by Chief Wildlife Warden Surendrakumar in his inquiry report to the government. The report also listed several proposals, both short-term and long-term ones, for improving precautionary steps in the facility. The tigress’s escape and the subsequent search efforts had exposed various frailties in the existing security system.
Based on the report, the government also decided to bring the park under round-the-clock CCTV surveillance that would enable authorities to closely monitor the animals in the facility and track other movements. Lighting facilities will also be established across the facility. A dedicated electric post and power connection will be established to cater to such needs.
In addition to the existing pathway for vehicles to pass through the safari area, a new inspection path will be created within the park boundary to enable foresters to assess the condition of the fence.
Such a path would also provide an alternative access to the park by cutting through the fence during exigencies. The branches of the trees that lean towards the fence will also be pruned.
External agencies or faculty from engineering colleges will be roped in to undertake an annual security audit of the fence.
They will be mandated with reviewing the strength of the wall to prevent any possible breach. Various structural aspects, including the possible force that could be applied by an animal, will be factored in during the certification process.
The Forest Department will also train animal keepers, who are employed on contractual basis, to ensure the professional handling of animals that are accommodated in the park. The programme will touch upon various aspects, including the use of protective equipment.