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Revive forester-cop network: WPSI

 

TNN Sep 29, 2013, 02.18AM IST

Kolhapur: The Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) has suggested that the Maharashtra forest department work out a better plan of communication between the police and forest guards in order to receive timely and accurate information about poacher gangs in the region.

Effective tracking of visitors to a village was earlier done through the 'police Patil' - essentially a state revenue auditor who would keep track of land-records, minor disputes and other information relevant to at the village level. Each 'police Patil' would also track every visitor to a village through a 'musafir diary' or traveller's diary and share information on outsiders with forest officers.

"The system is now broken; the link between forest department officials and the police Patils has been somewhat lost over time. We have suggested that the forest department revive this system, it will definitely curb the entry of poachers into protected areas," said Nitin Desai, director, WPSI, central India.

The WPSI's wildlife crime database has recorded around 20,000 cases of poaching since its inception in 1994. These involve over 400 species that are targeted by poachers and wildlife traders. "Tiger poachers rarely go to the Western Ghats, since there's a lower density of tigers in these areas than the Vidarbha region. Forests in Kolhapur and Satara are dense and spread across hilly terrain, making it difficult to hunt animals. Poachers from Madhya Pradesh, especially from the Katni district, visit the area for the wild boar, because the animal's meat is popular in the region. These poachers from Katni are experts in traditional hunting methods," Desai said.

Two women members of a gang from Katni were caught in the Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary on September 17. A man who accompanied the duo is on the run. Sixty-two baited explosives were recovered from the women, of which 11 were planted inside the sanctuary, allegedly to hunt wild animals. The women are in judicial custody. Kolhapur Forest officials are working over information shared by the duo to nab the suspected man.


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