Vijayawada: Foresters are on high alert to prevent hunting and poaching of wild animals like wild boar and spotted deer for their meat in the fringe areas of reserve forests and sanctuaries, given the huge demand for the meat especially during Darasa in parts of Andhra Pradesh.
This practice is prevalent in the peripheries of reserve forests and sanctuaries located in Vinukonda in Guntur; Chithapalli and Paderu in Visakhapatnam; Kukkunur and Jangareddygudem in West Godavari; Rampachodavaram and Chintur in East Godavari, Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam tiger reserve; Sesachalam forest in Chittoor; Giddaluru in Prakasam.
The flying squad of Guntur circle is sensitising villagers on wildlife protection, especially in Nehrunagar thanda, Ramidicherla, Mellavagu in Vinukonda forest range limits in the wake of past incidents of poaching of wild animals, especially during the Dasara festivities.
Guntur circle divisional forest officer (flying squad), N. Ramachandra Rao, said “Based on the past record of poaching and hunting of wild boars, especially during the Dasara festivities, we have stepped up our vigil in vulnerable areas and are taking up night patrolling in addition to sensitising local villagers to give up such practices and not to allow outsiders to resort to them either.”
Forest authorities are asking locals to alert them in case any persons resort to such illegal practices so that cases might be booked against them as per the provisions of the wildlife (protection) act, 1972.
As the wild boars and spotted deer stray in the fringe areas of reserve forests and sanctuaries where fields are located to eat the crops, the culprits set up snares to catch them. Earlier, they used electric fences to trap the wild animals and at times even bait them with explosive material.
Following high vigilance by forest authorities, such practices are being given up. Once the wild animals are caught in the snares, they are killed and their meat sold. On an average, it costs nearly `3,000 for the meat of a spotted deer per kg and nearly `1,500 to `2,000 for meat of a wild boar per kg. To avoid detection and trouble from law enforcing authorities, culprits deliver the meat at the doorsteps of their trusted customers.
Sources say that as all the family members, kin and friends meet together during the festive days, they consider it to be a status symbol and royal to offer a feast with the meat of a wild animal.
Recently, forest officials nabbed two persons on charges of hunting a wild boar falling under Bhakarapeta forest range limits of Chittoor district and seized its carcass.
A senior forest official said “We are taking support of local villagers and members of vana samrakshana samithis and eco development committees to keep check on such illegal practices.”