Kendrapara: Wildlife in Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara District is threatened by poachers. Over the past two decades, more than 400 poachers have been arrested for killing animals in the sanctuary, according to a report.
The slaughter of deer and other animals continues unabated.
It was learned that a team of state and district level officials from the Department of Women and Child Development visited the Dangamala crocodile breeding center a few days ago. They had dinner at Aranya Nivas.
What is shocking is that venison (deer meat) was part of their menu. This has been alleged by several organizations like the Raha Foundation, the Jaydurga Foundation and Bhitarkanika Yuva Parishad.
Alleging such a blatant violation of the law on the protection of wildlife, members of these groups staged demonstrations on Saturday at Jaydurga’s gate.
Ranger Kanika Manas Kumar Das rushed to the scene of the commotion and assured protesters to look into the case. The agitated people then gave in.
Aranya Nivas director said the meat was bought outside for dinner, while district social worker Chinmayee Rath said the meat was on the menu, but the meat was not game.
This incident which is under the scanner of the public and the forest service is a clue that some animals are threatened due to the high demand for their meat.
Locals have alleged that deer, wild boar and crocodiles are being hunted daily in the area of ââthe national park, but the forestry department is looking away. In addition, domestic and foreign birds are hunted by poachers, but such cases often go unnoticed.
Official forestry department records indicate that more than 400 poachers have been arrested over the past two decades. Locals have observed that with the conviction rate for such wildlife crimes being miserable, poaching has not been completely brought under control in the national park.
Jasobant Singh, Pabitra Karan, Jagannath Das, Rabindra Singh and Suryakant Das claimed that poachers killed deer, wild boar and rabbits using snares. Some poachers have set up dogs to distract deer and rabbits from their groups for easy hunting, they said.
They lamented the fact that senior officials coming to the national park were appeased with meat from wild animals. They said poaching inside the national park will be reduced if the defendants are severely punished.
The forestry department does not have a forensic laboratory to properly investigate wildlife crimes, while the conviction of such crimes rests with investigators, they added.
Kanika Das ranger said protecting wildlife is the top priority. Authorities are sincerely trying to verify these crimes as an investigation into the deer meat dinner service is underway, he added.