State forest department has recognised the efforts of Ranchi division in carrying out a bloodless Sendra, a tribal hunting festival, at Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary earlier this year.
Divisional forest officer Kamlesh Pandey was awarded with a certificate and a medal for his efforts to prevent hunting during the festival at a ceremony organised on Monday on the concluding day of wildlife week celebrations at the forest department’s community hall.
Every year, thousands of adivasis across the state assemble at Dalma sanctuary around March-April to observe the traditional festival that involves hunting wild animals.
However, over the past two years, Ranchi wildlife division has succeeded in curbing the practice by sensitising tribals and enforcing strict surveillance. Therefore, the annual tribal gathering at the sanctuary is now more a symbolic practice than a hunting exercise.
Speaking at the function, chief wildlife warden A.K. Mishra maintained that killing of wild animals in any form was illegal.
“Sendra celebrations in Dalma involves a conflict between tradition and conservation. While tribals consider Sendra an ancestral practice, we are entrusted with protecting wildlife,” he said, adding the department, therefore, recognised the efforts of officers who ensured a bloodless Sendra.
Kamlesh Pandey said organising awareness drives helped them curb hunting. “Our efforts were focused on explaining local residents that Dalma belongs to them and they must protect it. We encourage them by introducing various livelihood measures. Over the past two years, locals have been helping us to protect wildlife,” he said.
During the wildlife week celebrations that began on October 2, awareness drives and extra curricular activities were organised across Jharkhand. Students from city schools, who participated in the competitions, were also awarded on Monday.
Pandey said such contests were aimed at sensitising children about the environment. “While students participated in painting, elocution, skit and essay contests, elders took part in a photography competition,” he added.
Mishra said the forest department needed to interact more with schools and colleges.
“Students are sensitive towards the environment but they don’t know how to contribute. This is where the department should chip in with regular activities that could help them connect with conservation efforts,” he said.