Odishatv Bureau

Baripada: In a bid to dissuade tribals from traditional game-hunting practice of like 'Akhand Sikara' and sensitise locals about the need to protect wildlife and forests, the Baripada Forest Division recently organised an archery competition among tribals residing in the periphery of Similipal National Park.

The contest, a joint effort of some local NGOs and the forest department has brought cheers among the tribals. Around 2000 tribals demonstrated their enthusiasm by participating in this year's contest organised in Pahalaga division under Dukura range.

After the competition ended, the ground was full of arrows shot by participants while about two dozen arrows had hit the target board. Tribal youth were seen dancing with joy after hitting their targets in the competition.

The main purpose of the event, which has been organising for the past four years, is to dissuade tribals from going for 'Akhand Sikara'.

"To save wildlife and give the locals their forest rights, we have been organising this competition," said Mangalu Marni, a member of the organising team.

This also gives them a chance to feel an affinity with the nearby forest and its inhabitants.

"We want the locals residing near the Similipal forest not to lose their rights. At the same time, we want to save wild animals. Here, we are celebrating the archery," said Mangalu Hansada, a participant in the event.

The forest department should organise such kind of competition in other villages or forest ranges as well, so that people living near Similipal will not venture into forests to kill animals, said Batakrushna Padhee, an official of Dukura Range.

There were prizes like TV sets and bicycles for the winners in the competition.