Close circuit television (CCTV) cameras that have been installed at various locations of the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) for tracking the elusive snow leopard have belied the state government's claims of doing enough to check poaching.
The forest department here on Friday registered a case under the Wildlife Act, after footage of a camera installed in the deodar and fir forests of Kanwar Sanctuary, located in the Parvati valley, showed two gunmen tracking an animal in the forest.
Apart from being the snow leopard's home, the Himalayan thar and Himalayan brown bear are also found in the sanctuary. Forest officials suspect that the two gunmen were out hunting.
BS Rana, conservator of forests (GHNP), Kullu, said they were in possession of the footage showing the two gunmen in Kanwar Sanctuary. "The footage is from last month," he said. "Two people can be seen in the vide and we suspect they were out on a hunt."
A source in the forest department said that poachers take advantage of the extreme cold during winter and indulge in hunting. Heavy snowfall around this time of the year also hampers transportation and surveillance of forest areas on foot.
GHNP, which came into existence in 1984, is home to species of 31 mammals, 181 birds, three reptiles, nine amphibians, 11 annelids, 17 mollusks and 127 insects.
Starting from an altitude of 1,700 metres above sea level, the highest peak in the park touches 5,800 metres.
The national park is 754.4 square km and is naturally protected on the northern, eastern and southern boundaries by permanent snow or steep ridges.