The steel net barricade along the Bhitarkanika National Park. Telegraph picture
Paradip, Oct. 12: Straying of spotted deer and wild boar species into villages have declined reportedly because of the forest department's initiatives.
Setting up of galvanised steel barricade barriers and prompt information by the people living on the close periphery of the Bhitarkanika National Park has resulted in the decrease of animal interference.
The galvanised steel-net barricades were installed at the village borders to ward off the animals' intrusion into human settlements. Information from the villagers living on the fringes of the national park is slowly trickling in much to the relief of wildlife personnel. With local people reporting the wildlife intrusion cases to the department, forest officials are managing to drive away the straying animals before they could cause any damage.
"Hordes of wild boar and deer species making their way to the villages had become a regular feature. With animals destroying the crop fields and vegetable cultivation, outbreak of man-animal conflict had become a cause of concern for us. So, in order to regulate the intruding animals, the department has taken a number of measures, including giving away cash incentive to the informers," said Rajnagar mangrove (wildlife) forest division officer Bimal Prasanna Acharya.
"The informers are given away cash incentives ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 500. Though the amount is not a large sum, it's a symbolic gesture recognising the villagers' role in wildlife and forest conservation. Besides tip-off on wildlife offences, illegal fishing activity and tree-felling are also being covered under the cash incentive scheme," said the official.
The incentive scheme is intended to reduce the rate of man-animal conflict by chasing away the sighted animals from agriculture fields and village areas. And the scheme has yielded the desired result.
Cases of villagers injured following wild boar attack came down this year. Six cases were reported this year, while 15 such incidents had been reported last year. Similarly, spotted deer intrusion into crop fields have come down considerably. This year, a case of wild boar killed following retaliatory attack by humans has been reported so far, while three animals were killed by mob attack last year, according to officials.
The department has formed night vigil squads, who are maintaining watch at the forest-side villages. By bursting fire crackers and beating up drums, they have managed to keep the wild boar at bay.
Violence erupted at the sanctuary-side Sasanapeta village on October 18, 2013 following the death of a villager in a wild boar attack. The irate villagers had set ablaze the nearby Gahirmatha forest range office and triggered extensive damage to the forest department properties, including motorised sea-worthy vessels earmarked for the turtle protection programme.