The State Forest Department’s efforts to sensitise the people living in and around the Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) against poaching and destruction of forest resources has begun to yield returns as more and more villagers are coming forward to shun such activities.
In a major success, many residents of three villages Khalpada-Dhipasahi and Budhigaon under the Dudhiani Range bordering Similipal surrendered their weapons of hunting to the Forest officials recently. They also gathered to take oath on anti-poaching and assisting the Forest officials in protection of wildlife and resources.
“The development is significant as the villages are strategically located for entry to the reserve and a major route for poaching activities. With the villagers standing up against such activities, the anti-poaching drive will get a huge boost,” said honorary wildlife warden and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) programme coordinator Satyanarayan Das.
The WTI in association with the forest officials has launched a massive campaign against poaching in a community participatory mode. It is holding dialogues with the villagers on the issue of forest and wildlife protection while assisting the Forest Department and administration in covering the villages under different development and welfare programmes.
It is also persuading the villagers inside the core area of the Reserve to move out by accepting a proper rehabilitation package. The Regional Chief Conservator of Forests and Director of Similipal Tiger Project Anup Kumar Nayak has extended all support to initiatives taken by WTI to start interactions with villagers on their displacement, Das said.