By Seema Sharma
DEHRADUN: Two poachers were arrested after a gang of eight poachers exchanged fire with a patrolling team at Motichur range of Rajaji national park (RNP) on Tuesday, park officials said. Of the two, one was injured in the firing. The other six poachers are absconding.
One accused hails from Sapera Basti, Haripurkala, and the other is from Raiwala, park officials said. Forest department officials said they were hoping to get vital leads from the two to curb poaching in the state.
Poachers have been sighted many times in the park with the onset of the monsoon, and this has alarmed park officials, who have constituted new patrol teams to check poaching. After the Motichur incident, the adjoining the Chilla range too has stepped up patrolling.
"New patrolling teams have been constituted in the Chilla range as well. Patrols will continue for longer periods now," Dinesh Prasad Uniyal, Chilla range officer said.
Despite claims of intensive patrolling, poachers are still encroaching RNP. Poaching incidents increase in during monsoon when species like pangolin and goh (monitor lizard) emerge from their dwellings.
"Poachers hunt pangolin for its scales and meat and goh for various body parts. The two species are very vulnerable during monsoon when they are forced to come out of their water-logged dwellings. The poachers exploit this and the monsoon sees a rise in poaching incidents. The park administration has thus increased patrolling," Chaman Lal, Motichur range officer said.