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Similipal sealed as animal-hunting ritual nears

Written by: Staff
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Baripada, Apr 13 (UNI) Authorities today sealed the Similipal Tiger Reserve and National Park in Orissa's Mayurbhanj district as part of high security measures to prevent poaching during ''Akhand Shikar''.

'' The Simlipal Tiger Reserve(STR) and the National Park encompassing a total area of 2750 sq km of verdant forests has been sealed from Thursday to prevent the tribal hunters from sneaking into the park on their annual customary - Mass Hunting Expedition - better known as Akhand Shikar, ''said Debabrata Swain, Field Director of the STR-cum-Conservator of Forests, Baripada Circle.

Akhand Shikar is an annual ritual practised by local tribals when they move enmass to hunt animals. It starts every year on April 14 and continues for a month. However, locals said though it is a month -long tribal ritual only, the initial days witness much of hunting.

'' That's the reason this time round we, with support from World Wild Life Fund (WWF-India) and a local NGO, have launched an awareness campaign with an added focus on tribal priests to impress upon them to desist from such pernicious practise,'' Mr Swain said.

In fact, aiming at well coordinated security measures, a joint meeting had already been held involving police, district administration, and park managers.

Collector of Mayurbhanj district V K Pandiyan said following the recommendation of the meeting gun licence had been issued to 54 ex-service personnel, who will assist the forest force to prevent poaching in sensitive locations around the STR.

Nearly hundred pro-green volunteers were also assisting the officials in the operation.

UNI XC SJC RL HT1750

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