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Anti-poaching surveillance step up in Simlipal

Written by: Staff
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Baripada, Mar 23 (UNI) Wildlife officials have stepped up their anti-poaching surveillance in Simlipal as the tribal hunting season is approaching.

Come April, the tribals residing on the periphery of Simlipal forest prepare for mass hunting, popularly known as 'Akhand Shikar'.

Simlipal Tiger Reserve (STR) and National Park encompassing an area of 2750 square kilometers of dense woods prohibit hunting of wild animals under section 17 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Even after ban, the tribes go for hunting, because 'shikar' takes the important place in the tribal life.

According to the two Santhal 'Dehuris'(priests)- Sukhlal Hansda and Routray Marandi, the most important hunting ritual known in Santali terminology as 'Baha Baske Sendra' or the 'Mass hunting excursion' begins on April 14 on 'Chaitra Sankranti'.

Tribal groups armed with bows, arrows, spears and 'Tangia' (hunting axe) sneak into the park through untrodden paths and unleash a killing spree of the protected animals during 'Akhand Shikar.' STR Field Director-cum-Conservator of Forests Debabrata Swain said the park was all set with a well-equipped anti-poaching combat with the deployment of 54 ex-servicemen and hundred volunteers of the Sabuj Vahinis (Green Brigrades) to guard vulnerable entry points of the Park and its animal-rich areas.

The 'Sabuja Vahinis' are local eco-development units working in the villages situated near Simlipal Park.

Mr Swain said so far 35 anti-poaching camps had been set up in vulnerable areas of the Simlipal reserve. The camps are manned by the ex-servicemen, volunteers of the Green Brigades, forest guards and other field staff of the STR.

Some of the anti-poaching camps, he said were located in 'Machans' built on tree-tops in a camouflaged condition covered by green foliage from where the watchers keep a vigil on the poachers, the Field Director said.

UNI XC-DP JYN KD BS1741

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