By Riyan Ramanath V
Wildlife authorities are having a difficult time to restore security in the core area of Similipal tiger reserve in Mayurbhanj district that has remained unguarded following a Naxalite attack in 2009.
The tiger reserve, the fourth largest tiger sanctuary in the country, is spread over 2,750 sq km with a core of area of over 1195 sq km. Several areas of the reserve have become a haven for poachers and miscreants following the Naxalite attack.
The authorities are now keen on coming up with ways to restore the safety of animals in the reserve, the first major concern of wildlife officials. Several areas in the reserve have witnessed incidences of poaching in the recent past.
"The restoration exercise began in the last one-and-a-half years. As many as 94 protection camps were set up at strategic areas of the reserve. About 415 anti-poaching staffs have been deployed with VHF radio sets for effective surveillance," said regional chief conservator of forest and field director of the reserve Anup Nayak. He said for better monitoring, the reserve, which was being looked after by two senior officials - one for buffer and another for core area - is now being monitored by one field director.
Sources said after protection camps were set up, the forest officials have successfully prevented about a hundred poaching attempts. While 35 poaching-related cases have since then been registered, about 40 persons were arrested and remanded in judicial custody. More....