By Ashwin Aghor
Some villagers residing in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park too have been involved in poaching the animals, including endangered species.
If it isn't bad enough that various poachers enter various national parks to kill wild animals to sell the body parts, some villagers residing in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park too have been involved in poaching the animals, including endangered species.
In the latest incident, forest department officials say around 20 people from Patonpada village in the Yeoor range of the park killed a spotted deer on May 14. According to them, a spotted deer was seen near the village at around 12.30 pm. Around 20 people in the village cornered the animal, and forced it to enter the village. In the village, the people attacked the animal with axes and swords, killing it. The forest department officials claim the villagers later consumed the deer meat.
Sources said people from Patonpada are regular poachers and kill a deer or antelope at least thrice a month. "These people had killed a spotted deer in first week of May also. Possibilities of them being involved in poaching leopards cannot be ruled out," they added.
They also said that the lower ranked forest department staff extorted money from one of the accused when they learnt about the killing of the spotted deer. A senior forest official agreed that money had most probably changed hands in the matter. "But we can do little since we do not have evidence. Investigations are being carried out but nothing concrete has come out yet," the official said.
It is learnt that when officials went to the village to record the statements of the villagers, they virtually forced them out of the village.