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Hunters on the prowl in national park

Written by: Staff
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Aizawl, July 8 (UNI) Hunting has allegedly become rampant within the Murlen national park in Mizoram, sources in Murlen village said here today.

Hunting has been rampant within the area of the Murlen national park. Many hunters from different villages, including Aizawl, come here to huut.

Unfortunately, around 10 - 20 different species of animals and birds have been killed by these hunters within the last month.

''Sometimes, the hunters came in groups and camped inside the national park, and hunted for two to three weeks leaving a good number of wild animals dead,'' lamented Zomawi Khiangte, a student from the village.

Presently, there are a good number of species of deers, monkeys, boars, and birds. Besides, out of need, shifting cultivation was still being practiced in the village, which resulted in the gradual decrease of the forest land. This dispersed the animals to other areas, thereby decreasing their population in the park, Zomawia added.

Another source from the village has said one hunter had boasted of killing 51 deers in the national park in a single year. He said even villagers of Murlen, two to three kms from the park, were not exceptions either.

Meanwhile, the Aizawl-based Association for Environment Protection(ASEP) has strongly demanded an appropriate punishment to hunters, who had been arrested for killing animals at the national park.

Ten persons from Champhai town and its neighbouring Hmunhmeltha village have recently been arrested for killing one state animal serow(saza in local parlance) and two barking deers (locally referred to as sakhi) on March 30, 2007 at the national park.

According to ASEP, they were arrested by N Khawbung YMA volunteers and wildlife guards and have been booked under wildlife act.

Voicing grave concern over the lack of stringent action against wildlife crimes in the past, the ASEP insisted that the culprits, who are to be produced before the court on Monday, be given appropriate punishment.

ASEP further urged for expeditious implementation of the Khawzawl wildlife division for effective monitoring of the national park, which situated near the Indo-Myanmar border, in the northeast of Mizoram, about 240 kms from Aizawl. The Murlen national park, about 100 sq km area, is a B-graded national park.

UNI

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