Monday, 30th October 2017

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Wildlife body worries over poaching cases

The Wildlife Society of Odisha has expressed concern over rampant poaching in the Similipal Tiger Reserve.

By Lalmohan Patnaik in Cuttack
  • Published 23.01.18

Cuttack: The Wildlife Society of Odisha has expressed concern over rampant poaching in the Similipal Tiger Reserve.

In a memorandum submitted on Saturday, the society urged forest and environment minister Bijayshree Routray to call for a special meeting to review the "rapid decline" in protection of forest and wildlife in the reserve area.

"We also urge you to pay a field visit to the tiger reserve and interact with wildlife lovers of Mayurbhanj district - which will enable you to understand the pitiable condition of protection, so that you take immediate steps to do something about it," said society secretary Biswajit Mohanty in the memorandum.

"The tiger reserve attracts attention of all wildlife lovers of India for its unique characteristics. The black tiger is seen here and nowhere else in the world. Hence, it needs special attention and strong management that can be ensured by proper posting and supervision by the government," Mohanty said.

The society said it had been getting reports from the tiger reserve area over the past few years about lack of vigilance and inadequate protection leading to rampant poaching. In most cases, the forest personnel failed to catch the poachers.

The wildlife body said the situation worsened in the past few months since protection had "slackened further and poaching activities have jumped sharply with round the year hunting".

Similipal authorities were extra vigilant during the Makar festival when mass-hunting (Akhanda Shikar) took place and also took police help while carrying out awareness programmes to keep the hunters away. These awareness drives were not conducted this year resulting in rampant poaching.

"Several instances of poaching have been recorded in recent months inside the highly protected area. While poaching is going on across the Similipal biosphere, the most effected ranges are in the Baripada division's Dukura, Pithabata, Udala and Kaptipada ranges," Mohanty said.

"We are shocked by this dismal state of protection. It appears that huge sum of money provided by the National Tiger Conservation Authority for patrolling and protection is of no use to save the wildlife," the wildlife society secretary said.

According to the society, in November last year, there was a report about how poachers had fired at a hopelessly ill-equipped protection unit and entered the core area of the sanctuary near Bhanjabasa in the upper Barakamuda range.

In the first week of December last year, an adult male Sambar was found struggling to survive with an arrow pierced to his body in the Podadiha section of Udala range. Only a few such incidents get reported by the media as most of the cases are concealed by local park management.