KANPUR: The authorities of Suhelwa Wildlife sanctuary
are all set to depute members of ‘Tharu
‘ tribe around checkposts for intelligence-gathering aimed at tackling poachers and checking crime against wildlife
in the terai belt of the region.
“Wildlife poaching is a major problem in the region. The tiger reserve of Suhelwa is under constant threat from poachers. After declaring the area as a critical tiger habitat, this step (involving Tharu community) would be another initiative for combating wildlife crime and managing tiger conservation in the sanctuary,” District Forest officer Manish Mittal told TOI.
Society for Conservation of Nature in co-ordination with Suhelwa Wildlife sanctuary will organise a host of related events in villages dominated by the Tharu tribe living on the fringes of the sanctuary in the coming days, he added.
“During our interactions, we will emphasise why the forests and tigers or other wild animals need to be protected,” said Rajiv Chauhan, secretary, Society for Conservation of Nature. Though the main focus of the exercise would be to check crime against wildlife, particularly tiger poaching, it will also check destruction of habitat of wild animals.
“We are also working on the master plan across the Suhelwa Wildlife Sanctuary, which covers an area of 452 sq km dotting Balrampur, Gonda and Shrawasti districts across Indo-Nepal border,” Chauhan added. The area would be further divided into seven ranges and security arrangements would be made at all the strategic points in all the ranges,” said another senior forest official adding that the department would also increase the number of checkposts particularly near the Nepal border to prevent poachers from entering the sanctuary area.
“Apart from training, the community will be sensitised about wildlife Acts. Since poachers who enter the sanctuary through bordering areas of Nepal are equipped with modern equipment, the forest security personnel at the checkposts too will be given latest security gadgets including arms and ammunition, communication tools and satellite tracking devices. They will also be given regular training for updating their skills,” said an official.
Besides, to assimilate members of the Tharu tribe into the mainstream, several events will be organised around the wildlife sanctuary.
These include plantation programmes, conservation rallies and nature games for children of the community who would also be made aware of the importance of nature and wildlife conservation. Film shows on wildlife and nature conservation will be conducted apart from other activities like painting competitions and quiz, he said.