Members of Tamil Nadu Green Movement on Thursday seized metal snares meant for poaching wildlife, from a temporary shop put up at the Gurunathaswamy temple festival in the Anthiyur forests and handed them over to the Conservator of Forests, Erode.
The members wondered how Forest officials permitted the sale of such traps near Reserve Forests which have sizeable wildlife population.
S. Jayachandran of Tamil Nadu Green Movement said someone tipped them off about the sale of metal snares at the temple festival. A visit to the temple revealed that a shop was selling two different types of snares. While one measured 30 ft, the other measured 10 ft. Members of TNGM seized 20 each from both types of snares.
K. Mohan Raj of TNGM said the 30-ft snares were being sold at Rs. 100 each.
The thin metal wire snares are arranged on a single line, tied between two trees or bushes. Whenever an animal crosses the snare, it gets trapped as the noose in the snare tightens, paralysing its movement and causing severe pain. Poachers normally fix snares inside forests during dusk and come back the next day.
Small reptiles such as monitor lizards, mammals such as Malabar giant squirrel, Black-naped hare, porcupine, wild pig, mouse deer, barking deer, spotted deer (Cheetal), sambar deer, Palm civet, Small Indian civet, pangolin, jungle cat, leopard cat, leopard and even tiger cubs could be caught using such snares, he said.
Normally, snares are set up on a stretch where animal movement is very high. There seems to be a great demand for snares. Due to their thinness, the snares are not normally visible. A senior Forest officer said that traditionally farmers in this region used snares to trap rats, which removed grains ready for harvest.
Already, the department is in the process of tracing the origin of the snares to stop their sale. On Wednesday, about half a dozen snares were seized.