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Rashmi Rekha Das

A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in Odisha High Court on Thursday seeking stringent punishment for people engaged in wildlife poaching.

According to the petition filed by Gita Rout, the state has registered a sharp rise in poaching of wild animals. Frequent poaching has resulted in decimation of many wild animals, especially elephants. At a time when a pachyderm with gunshot wounds was found writhing in pain near a rivulet in Narasinghapur forest range under Athgarh forest division in Cuttack, the state government and the forest department have little concern for it.

“The Assam government had amended Section 51 of the Wildlife Act to rein in wildlife crimes by speeding up prosecution and conviction of poachers. Similarly, the Odisha government should make changes in the anti-poaching laws by increasing the provisions of punishment for poachers”, said the petitioner urging the High Court to instruct the state government to follow the Assam’s path to contain the alarming wildlife poaching in the state. 

Also, the petitioner has requested the court to ask the government to submit its report on steps being taken by it for the safety of elephants. In its reply, the government must clarify on how many people have been arrested for poaching elephants in the state so far.  

Forest and environment department, Chief Conservator of Forest and Chief Secretary and Director General of Police have been made parties in the PIL.

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