Jitendra Kumar Dhyani was a 29 year old forest guard in Corbett Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand, India. He was on regular patrol duty in the Kalagarh lake area in July this year, when he missed his footing and drowned. Married, with a two year old daughter, Jitendra was a sole earning member of the family. The relief of Rs. 1,00,000 provided to his wife, 22-year-old Rani, has help reduced to some extent the stress and pain the bereaved family is going through. Rani has also been given a job in the Forest Department on compassionate grounds. She has now stepped out of the confines of her house and is shouldering the responsibility of raising her daughter.
Reports like this are not uncommon. Forest guards accept situations like animal attacks, accidents, and poacher attacks as occupational hazards. Stoics though they are, the constant worry about the fate of their family proves to be a dissuading factor when faced with situations when quick and potentially life-threatening decisions have to be made. The knowledge that their families will not be left helpless in the event of their death gives these brave men and women a greater sense of security when going about their duties to protect India's wildlife.
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