Poaching on despite vigil

Sixteen cases of poaching and illegal fishing have been reported have been reported from the Bhitarkanika National Park in the past six months.

By Our correspondent in Kendrapara
  • Published 6.05.18
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Kendrapara: Sixteen cases of poaching and illegal fishing have been reported have been reported from the Bhitarkanika National Park in the past six months.

Two crocodiles have allegedly been killed in a forest creek in the past one month. The post-mortem report found infliction of external injury as cause of the reptiles' death.

"The crocs might have been entangled in the fishing nets. And the fishermen, unlawfully fishing in the prohibited Bhitarkanika water bodies, might have killed them," said an official.

Besides poaching, the interception of illegal fishing in the forest's water system is also being reported at periodic intervals. "Fishing activities or fuel wood collection within the wetland sites of a wildlife sanctuary and national park is a cognisable offence. The forest department has stepped up its vigil on any act of trespass into the prohibited territories to ensure the safety of flora, fauna and the fragile eco-system of Bhitarkanika," said Rajnagar mangrove (wildlife) divisional forest officer Bimal Prasanna Acharya.

The department is sensitising the people living along the close periphery of the sanctuary, asking them to reduce dependence on ethe forest and its adjoining water bodies for livelihood stakes.

Besides fishing, collection of fuel wood, honey, grass and leaves from the protected forest for livelihood needs is unlawful.

"That's why the department has launched initiatives and comprehensive programmes to provide alternate livelihood stakes to the sanctuary-side villagers. A large number of local settlers are now reaping economic benefits from the department-sponsored programmes. The percentage of people who are trespassing and are breaking law is low," he said.

Vigil has been intensified along the protected forest areas of the national park to curb poaching. "It is due to the alertness of anti-poaching squads that wildlife offenders are being intercepted at regular intervals. Though poaching is taking places, its occurrences are few and far," claimed an official.

The department has intensified vigil on poaching activities with constitution of anti-poaching squads to keep round-the-clock watch on the forest. Stray cases of wildlife poaching have come to light recently. But, the department has resolved to ensure the animals' safety, said officials.

Deer and wild boar generally stray into villages, exposing themselves to the poaching threat.