Bihar: Valmiki Tiger Reserve on alert to stop poaching amid influx of nomads
A strict vigil is being maintained on poachers who try to enter the forests during the monsoon season in the garb of Kanwariyas or nomadic people (banjaras)
The Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR), the only tiger reserve of Bihar in West Champaran district, has been asked to tighten security and ensure safety of tigers, leopards and other wildlife species at the reserved forest over concerns of poaching.
Following instructions from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), VTR has intensified patrolling, especially in areas located along the Nepal border.
A strict vigil is being maintained on poachers who try to enter the forests during the monsoon season in the garb of Kanwariyas or nomadic people (banjaras).
During the monsoon month of ‘Shrawan’, thousands of devotees from Nepal and from across the state visit Lord Shiva temples, such as the Someshwar temple and Sofa temple in tiger reserve areas, and there are apprehensions that poachers might take advantage of the free flow of Kanwariyas.
VTR authorities are also keeping eyes over the nomadic people and Banjaras who, during monsoon, make temporary settlements in villages located on the outskirts of the reserved forest area and often go to forests to collect herbs and medicinal plants. It has been noted that poachers might go there in the garb of nomads.
“The wildlife crime control bureau (WCCB) has already issued red alert for six tiger reserves of the country in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra while some tiger reserves which are located on border areas of Nepal, including the VTR, have also been asked to intensify patrolling to stop poaching of tigers,” said Pradyumna Gaurav, DFO, Division I, VTR.
Following the NTCA instructions, joint teams have been constituted with forest guards and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) to intensify patrolling in sensitive areas on the Indo-Nepal border, he added.
“We are also keeping track of the nomadic people who can be seen these days in village markets selling herbs, medicinal powders and such materials. They also go deep into the forests. Poachers may take advantage of this situation,” he added.
Hardly a few days ago, during a raid made by the forest guards at a local market at Champapur village in Ganauli forest area of Division II of VTR, some nomads were learnt to have been found with animal bones, nails and skulls. Three of them were arrested as well, he added.
“In 2006-07, a tiger in the Division I of the VTR was killed by these nomadic people,” the official stated.