By S. Mannar Mannan
The recent incidents of animal poaching reported from various forests in the State, particularly in the western region, have evoked serious concern among wildlife protection and conservation activists. The worrying trend is that animals are being hunted down not only for their hide, fur and meat but also as an adventure sport.
According to Tito Joseph, programme manager of Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), an elephant and a leopard poaching were reported in Tamil Nadu this year. Two elephant tusks and two female elephant tushes (small short tusk with no pulp inside, typical of female Asian elephants) and four tiger canines were seized.
“Last year (2012), an elephant and a few deer were poached in Tamil Nadu, in addition to the seizure of seven elephant tusks, two tiger skins, three leopard skins and deer horns. Poaching of several other animals like blackbuck, spotted deer, sambar, monitor lizard, wild boar and turtle were also reported,” he said. He, however, said that poaching activity in Tamil Nadu was less than in the northern and central parts of the country.
Forest officials were worried about the trend of wild animals being hunted down by people as an adventure activity and also for meat, in addition to their being hunted for trading.
“Some of the people arrested recently were from well-off families and they were involved in hunting wild animals as an adventure sport. In some other cases animals were killed for the meat,” said M Senthil Kumar, Coimbatore District Forest Officer.
“If NGOs working for wildlife conservation inform the Forest Department about poachers, they should take it seriously. What is important is good policing and forest officials should enhance security at entry points,” said S Jayachandran, joint secretary of Tamil Nadu Green Movement.