Wildlife activists have been left shocked and angry after poachers with alleged political links entered a sanctuary for endangered four-horned antelope and brutally killed a pregnant one for meat.
The carcass of the animal was recovered recently by range forest officials. The postmortem of the female antelope revealed that it would have given birth in less than another fortnight. The poachers trapped the antelope in a snare and hit it on the head at Rakkasagudda inside the sanctuary.
Forest officials, on condition of anonymity, said local politicians were not allowing them to name the culprits. They have details of at least six poachers active in the area. The culprits were regular poachers supplying antelope meat to eateries in Jagalur for a premium.
The Rangayyanadurga sanctuary in Jagalur taluk of Davangere district was recently made a special haven for the four-horned antelope which is listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
“The animal has been enlisted in this schedule at par with the elephant and tiger. The animal has not been subjected to enumeration as we do in the case of tigers and elephants,” wildlife activist Guruprasad Timmapur pointed out.
According to district office documents, Rangayyanadurga was recently notified as the Rangayyanadurga Four-horned Antelope Sanctuary to grant special status and enhance protection of the primitive bovid.
This is the third such poaching incident in the past fortnight in Jaglur taluk. The previous incidents have also gone unnoticed, and without any arrests. Wildlife activists say the sanctuary urgently needs special anti-poaching teams to tackle the menace.