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Jumbo concerns at meet

Making elephant corridors more secure and strengthening the communication network between neighbours were the foci of discussions at the interstate co-ordination meeting of chief wildlife wardens at the forest guesthouse in Mango on Wednesday.

Jharkhand’s principal chief conservator of forests D.K. Srivastava, his Bengal counterpart Ujjwal Bhattacharya and representatives from Bengal, Odisha and Chhattisgarh exchanged ideas on how to prevent man-animal conflict and curb wildlife crimes. The event was organised by the state department of forest and environment.

A host of forest officials from Jharkhand, including regional chief conservator of forests (Singhbhum) K.K. Chatterjee, conservators of Ranchi, Chaibasa and Jamshedpur as well as divisional forest officers were present at the meeting.

Chhattisgarh’s chief conservator of forests (wildlife) B.P. Nonhare and DFOs of Kharagpur (Bengal) and Baripada, Rairangpur and Balasore (Odisha) also attended the proceedings. “We exchanged information on restoration of elephant habitat, how to make it more hospitable and steps to be initiated on uniting fragmented interstate corridors and the migration pattern of elephants,” Srivastava said.

The meeting dwelled at length on steps that must be taken to make their corridors more secure from human interference. “We need to generate more awareness,” the PCCF said.

Srivastava added that they would study claims of Bengal and Odisha that some migratory elephants from Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary were not returning home. “The population at Dalma is intact. However, we have taken a note of the complaint and will do a case study.”

Shedding light on wildlife crimes, the senior forester said that participants had agreed to beef up vigilance and make foolproof cases against offenders so that they can be prosecuted.

“We have names and details of serial law-breakers. We dwelled on how to channelise such information through various networks like police, wildlife crime control bureau and forensic wing. These departments are vital components in controlling wildlife crime and their support is paramount when it comes to bringing the culprits to book,” Srivastava summed it up.