By Neha L.M. Tripathi
Antlers belonging to a spotted deer found near Bhandup (West) have raised questions about hunting, or smuggling of parts of wildlife animals in and around Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).
The antlers were found by a group of boys who were playing near the Khindipada pipeline. Sightings of spotted deer and leopards are common near the Khindipada pipeline, because it is close to the boundary of SGNP. This is also the same location where a small girl was killed in a leopard attack last year.
On September 9, while playing near the Khindipada water pipeline, a group of boys noticed a part of a spotted deer’s antlers lying nearby. Having found it unusual and interesting, the children picked them up and took them.
A man, who was passing by, Yashwant Thombra, saw the antlers and allegedly snatched them from the hands of the children. Thombra was allegedly under the influence of alcohol. Locals, who saw him with the antlers, rang up officials from Plants and Animals Welfare Society (PAWS), a Bhandup-based NGO.
Soon after receiving the call, volunteers from the NGO immediately rushed to the spot. “When we reached the spot, a local showed us a picture he had clicked, of Thombra with the deer’s antlers. We immediately started searching for him, going door to door of every home in Khindipada. It was necessary because he could’ve sold the antlers, or used it for wrong purposes,” said Sunish Subramaniam, the founder of PAWS. More....