Tribal villages around the core area of Similipal Tiger Reserve have come forward to join hands with the State Forest department in its fight against poaching and timber smuggling in the National park.
The Forest department, in association with Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), has launched a special drive in and around the Tiger Reserve to sensitise the local communities and stop Akhand Shikaar (mass hunting). The tribal communities are being actively involved in surveillance measures to prevent intrusion into the reserve area by the poachers.
A special anti-poaching drive was held recently in Thakurmunda and Satkosia range of Karanjia division involving about 10 villages around the core and buffer areas of Similipal National Park. Awareness programmes were held through Gram Sabha meetings where the villagers were explained on different welfare and development programmes launched by the Government for them.
They were also sensitised on the importance of protection of wildlife and forest resources. While being motivated to refrain from Akhand Shikaar, they were also asked to keep a watch on the movement of hunting groups. They were told to inform the police and forest officials on signs of illegal entry into the forest area.
“Response to the initiative was very encouraging. The tribal communities across the villages promised to cooperate with the Forest department in the fight against poaching and timber smuggling,” Honorary Wildlife Warden, Mayurbhanj, Satya Narayan Das said.
The campaign undertaken by ASF, Thakurmunda and Range Office, Satkosia also involved mobilisation of anti-poaching forces in the region. Similipal Protection Force personnel were deployed and flag marches held in villages close to the entry points of the poaching groups. Banners and posters were also put up to educate the communities.
“The readiness of tribal community across strategically located villages along the Reserve to curb poaching marks a great achievement for the Department. An aware and sensitive local population is key to end the destructive practice,” Das said.