By A.S.R.P. Mukesh
Over 50 poaching traps, made of barbed and meshed wires, were recovered during extensive raids across Palamau Tiger Reserve (PTR) and its adjoining forest areas in the past couple of days.
Palamau officials conducting the raids also seized around six trucks full of illegally felled bamboos, sal, other fresh tree logs and even 14 fresh chaukis primarily from Ketchki and Satbarwa regions that link the reserve and Latehar division.
Informing about the haul today, PTR DFO (core) Premjit Anand said: “We acted on tip-offs that illegal trade was going on in the forested areas during the festive season. We formed crackdown teams that fanned across the reserve and its adjoining area for frisking and combing operations. At least, 50-60 traps were seized. The recoveries were alarming,” he said, adding that the “operation” was launched two days ago.
Illegal felling of trees is not new in PTR and other parts of Naxalite-hit Palamau and Latehar, posing a threat to the tiger habitat. Although there have been no reports of animal poaching so far, the seizure is obviously a cause of worry.
However, Anand said that compared to earlier times, the situation was now far better both in buffer and core areas. “The demand for bamboo increases around Chhath as it is used to make various articles like trays to carry offerings for the sun god. So we were extra alert this time,” he added.
On felling of sal and other kinds of trees, the official said that the mafia was active in connivance with local people. “Satbarwa, being a tri-junction of PTR, Daltonganj and Latehar forest divisions, is the most vulnerable area. The three divisions, who are grappling with manpower crunch, keep passing the buck to each other. But we are planning to float joint crack teams soon,” he said. More....