Dehradun : YV Jhala , senior scientist at the Doon – based Wildlife Institute of India ( WII ) , who played a key role in the reintroduction of cheetahs in India , was superannuated on February 28 last year and then awarded a service extension of two years in view of the role he was playing in the cheetah project .
However , in a surprise move , his two – year service extension was curtailed to one year and he was relieved of his duties recently . Speaking to the scientist said , ” I am as surprised as anyone else . My task was not done yet . The cheetahs have just come to India and there’s still a long way to go to establish them . ” He added that he was given ” no reasons ” for curtailment of his extension .
Jhala was the lead author of the 2022 Cheetah Action Plan and played a vital role in negotiations with biologists in Namibia and South Africa . He was also the head of the last Cheetah Task Force formed under conservationist MK Ranjitsinh in 2009 .
One of the officers of the Union environment minis try , requesting anonymity , said that the scientist’s ” curtailment was foreseen ” ever since the first lot of cheetahs were released in Kuno Na tonal Park in Madhya Pradesh , last September The of for added : ” Not keeping Dr Jhala in the monitoring committee of the cheetahs was enough of an indication for everyone that his curtailment was in the offing . It is not a move that has happened overnight . “
Incidentally former Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh had put out a tweet on February 28 , pointing at possible reasons for Jhala’s ouster : ” The man who was key to cheetah reintroduction has been shown the door today . Dr YV Jhala was given a two – year extension at WII last year but that’s now been curtailed . He’s been a strong advocate of a second home for the Gir Lion outside Gujarat and has paid the price . ” It was also alleged that since the scientist calsed objections to transporting the cheetahs on the noisy ‘ Chinook ‘ helicopters , pointing out that this would cause stress to the animals , this had not gone down well with the government . However , the scientist did not comment on these allegations .
When asked if he would continue giving services to Wildlife Institute of India ( WII ) or other government institutes as a consult ant in future , he said , ” The government gave me an opportunity , I am thankful to them . It is their prerogative to end my service , and they have ended it although I don’t know the reason , why . But I am not joining any where for now . ” A WII scientist , requesting anonymity , said , ” This has come as a shock for the entire wildlife community of India . This unpleasant action has shown how scientists are dispensable in India .