By Himanshu Kaushik
Now on, the watchful eyes of foresters will be trained on the winged visitors from overseas that flock to Nalsarovar every year. The state forest department has decided to set up watchtowers near the bank in three villages where poaching has been rampant. Officials have also decided to allocate special funds to set up an information network for Nalsarovar, a Ramsar site.
Officials in Nalsarovar said that at meetings between senior officials on Monday, it was decided to have watchtowers in three sensitive villages - Darji, Ranagadh and Vekariya. These have sizeable populations and notorious for the poaching of birds. In all, about 9000 people in these villages hunt and eat wild animals.
The meeting was held after two people from Ranagadh village were caught with 60 coots that had been trapped and whose legs and wings were broken to keep them from escaping.
These watchtowers will be equipped with closed circuit cameras and in order to prevent damage, one hidden camera will also be installed to catch poachers who will manage to find the visible ones.
Sources in the department said that against the sanctioned strength of 12, there are just six staffers - including the deputy conservator of forests and assistant conservator of forests. With just half the sanctioned strength, officials have to keep watch over 1.5 lakh winged visitors and thousands of tourists to the wetland spread over 120.82 sq km.
"There are only three guards to secure the highly sensitive site, which has communities known for poaching living nearby," said a source. It was decided at the meeting that staff strength would be increased to ensure illegal activities are monitored efficiently. More....