Cyclone 'Yaas': Bengal forest deptt forms 16 rescue teams in three districts

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Kolkata, May 25 (PTI) The West Bengal Forest Department has formed 16 teams in three districts for rescue operations in the wake of the impending cyclone 'Yaas', a top official said Tuesday.

The teams have been set up in Kolkata, North and South 24 Parganas, he said.

'In Kolkata and South/North 24 Parganas districts, 16 teams will be at work in sync with local civic bodies, including the KMC, for exigencies including cutting and lopping of felled trees and rescue operations of humans and animals,' the senior forest official told PTI.

The department, to prevent the tiger population in the Sunderbans from straying into adjacent villages, is working on war footing to repair holes in nylon nets that demarcate the Sunderban Tiger Reserve with neighbouring areas, he said.

Trapping and transportation cages have been kept ready for immediate disposal, along with tranquilisers and medicines, the official said.

'We are also stocking bamboo for reinforcing at least 5 km of fencing,' he said.

As per a recent survey by the department, the number of Royal Bengal Tigers in the Sunderbans has risen to 96.

Meanwhile, the Alipore Zoological Gardens has set up a 35-member squad consisting of employees and medical staff to keep a tab on the condition of animals in view of the cyclone, a zoo official said.

Lions, tigers, leopards and elephants will be kept in their respective night shelters from Tuesday late evening, as the cyclone is expected to make landfall on Wednesday morning, Alipore Zoo Director Ashis Samanta told PTI.

Venomous reptiles like cobras and the anaconda will be placed in customised boxes, Samanta said, adding, some of the birds are being shifted to bigger cages.

Trees have been cut or lopped near the open-air deer enclosure, as they prefer to remain in the open, but may be scared at the sight of falling trees, he said.

Established in 1876, the Alipore Zoo houses 1,100 wild animals. PTI SUS SBN RBT RBT

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