To bring down wildlife poaching in the State, narikoravas need to be rehabilitated, according to S.R.V. Murthy, Regional Deputy Director, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau , Chennai.
Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Murthy said the poaching network of the narikoravas came to light during an awareness programme conducted for them in Krishnagiri district recently. Pudukottai, Tiruchi and Dindigul were some of the districts from where the live wildlife or the meat was distributed across the State.
The poachers used public as well as other modes of transport to distribute the bush meat, he said adding that the poached wildlife included monitor lizard, mongoose, quails and different species of migratory birds.
The narikoravas sold the monitor lizard skin, after soaking it in palm oil, to people, claiming that it could cure joint pains. The animals and birds were trapped by spreading nets in the forest areas , he observed. In the programme held in Krishnagiri last week, nearly10 families of narikoravas along with their children participated. They agreed to give up poaching provided they were given alternative employment opportunities, Mr. Murthy said. He further suggested the State forest department to hold regular counselling and awareness programmes in the narikorava settlements.
On the issuance of licence for muzzle loading guns used by the narikoravas, a senior forest department officer said they were issued by the District Collectors ‘for hunting’.
M. Santhanaraman, advocate and environmental activist, said it was the Chief Wildlife Warden of a State who alone was empowered under the Section 11 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 to permit hunting.
Therefore, issuing licence/renewing gun licence to narikoravas by District Collectors should be stopped and the district forest officers in coordination with the Collectors should cancel such licences, he opined.