Himansu Shekhar Rout

People living around the Similipal sanctuary have become more sensitive to the adverse impact of hunting. They caught hold of two poachers with loaded guns and handed them over to the Odisha Forest Department officials on Thursday. 

The Forest Department also seized two guns and other hunting equipment from their possession.

The incident took place in Kendua village under the Pithabata range of Similipal South Forest Division, informed the deputy director of Similipal South Forest Division, Samrat Gouda. 

This is said to be the first such incident in Similipal where people have acted against poachers. Amid allegations of wildlife poaching in the sanctuary, the forest department is reportedly enthused over such a proactive approach of locals.

Speaking to the media, Samrat Gouda said, “People living in fringe villages abutting Similipal have been sensitised against poaching and other illegal activities inside the sanctuary. For the first time, villagers detained hunters and handed them over to the forest department. This is a good sign for the safety of Similipal.”

As per reports, during Pana Sankranti, hundreds of people go on a hunting spree (traditionally called Akhand Sikar) in Similipal as per a tradition. 

However, the Forest Department has reportedly taken a host of measures to prevent hunting and prevent entry of the poachers. 

“In the last two years, police and forest officials have seized over 600 guns and arrested 48 poachers,” Goud informed.

PCCF (Wildlife) Susanta Nanda wrote in his X handle, ”Now, the villagers are up against the criminals trying to dent their  Pride- The Similipal Tiger Reserve.”

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