Baripada: The forest department, police and district administration became active to prevent ‘akhand shikar’ (mass hunting of wild animals) in the Similipal sanctuary.
At a district-level coordination committee chaired by District Collector Vineet Bhardwaj, a decision was made to increase security and patrols in and around the shrine.
Notably, the tribes have a centuries-old tradition of mass hunting wild animals for a week during ‘Makar Sankranti’ in January and during ‘Bishubha Sankranti’ in April.
The tribes perform rituals at village shrines before going into the interior of the forests to hunt. They celebrate and feast on the meat of hunted animals. Such practices take a heavy toll on wild animals and wildlife, it has been alleged.
In April, tribals set fire to forests to flush out wild animals that become easy targets after escaping from their shelters. To dissuade the tribals from such practices, the forest department has been carrying out an awareness campaign for years, but to no avail.
It was unanimously decided that all will work in tandem to ward off any hunting attempt in the forests.
SP Risikesh Dyandeo Khilari said all possible help will be provided by the police to the forest department to prevent mass hunting and ensure the safety of wild animals.
Staff from all police stations around the sanctuary will assist forest officers in apprehending hunters.