Dandeli has seen 25 poaching cases since 2009

The arrest of three poachers, who were caught on cameras, nearly a fortnight ago in the Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve has once again put the spotlight on wildlife poaching in the region.

According to information under the Right to Information Act, the reserve has seen a total of 25 poaching cases since 2009. Till June 2015, three cases have already been reported; while 2014 saw six cases.

The poachers have not targeted tigers, but animals such as gaur, wild pig, sambar, barking deer, which are prey species to larger carnivores in the region.

Activists say that the 1,300 sq km tiger reserve is contiguous with the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka and sanctuaries in Goa, forming a 2,200 sq km network that is conducive for endangered tigers. However, they warn that poaching of prey animals will see larger predators struggling for food.

Environmentalist Praveen Bhargav believes the numbers do not reveal the full extent of poaching, many cases of which go undetected. “The mechanism for checking poaching at Dandeli is woefully inadequate. It is a recently-created national park, with a wildlife wing. Considering the tough terrain there and inhabitations around, there should be more anti-poaching officers,” he said.

The issue of staff strength was brought up in an NTCA (National Tiger Conservation Authority) report in 2014, where they found many anti-poaching camps lacked sufficient manpower or infrastructure.

Vinay Luthra, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), believes the filing of poaching cases was not an indicator of trends in poaching. “If officers are active, the number of cases go up. In some areas, there are few poaching cases, but this may not indicate reduced poaching,” he said.

However, while he believes that the death of wild animals due to poaching in protected areas was on the decline, killing of animals in unprotected areas was still a concern.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 2:55:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/dandeli-has-seen-25-poaching-cases-since-2009/article7391690.ece

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