Gurgaon: Forest dept launches 24-hour toll-free helpline, task force starts functioning
The six-member special task force, formed by the forest department to protect wildlife in the Aravallis, has started functioning and conducted its first formal patrolling on Tuesday night.
The task force is meant to protect wild animals from poachers. The team will curtail poaching and illegal tree felling in the eco-sensitive areas of the Aravallis.
The department also launched a 24-hour, toll-free helpline (18001030562) for residents to call and seek information on the rescue of distressed wildlife in the region.
The helpline became operational on Tuesday, officials said.
According to officials, tenders have been floated to buy drones to patrol the forest areas and the delivery is expected this week.
The six-member team includes inspector Sunil Kumar (in-charge), Dr Ashok Khasa (veterinary surgeon, wildlife), inspector Om Prakash, inspector Devender Kumar, inspector Surjeet Singh, Krishan Kumar (wildlife guard).
“After the December 8 incident, wherein a peacock with its legs caught in a metal trap was spotted near the Tata Raisina Residency in the Aravallis, we had sent teams to the area and all traps laid by tribal people were removed. The task force teams will carry out patrolling three days a week and a report
will be submitted after each patrolling,” Vinod Kumar, chief conservator of forest, wildlife Gurgaon, said.
“The team will monitor and patrol the Aravalli villages at night when poachers are most active,” Kumar said.
A group of tribal people allegedly laid traps in the Aravallis and these were spotted by a group of residents and environmentalists.
They met the Union environment minister in December and he had assured them that he would take action against those involved in wildlife poaching.
The state forest department had received a letter from the Centre, seeking a status report on the formation of a task force to step up vigil in the Aravallis and curb poaching.
In response to the letter, the forest and wildlife department had met the Haryana’s forest and wildlife minister Rao Narbir Singh in January.
“During the meeting, I had asked the department to form a task force and to ensure no incident of poaching takes place in the forest. A clear instruction is given to the officials that if anyone is found involved in poaching, he will be nabbed and punished,” Narbir Singh said.
The task force found no illegal activity during its first patrol on Tuesday night. “We saw a jackal, blue bull, hare, jungle cat and porcupine and the animals were healthy,” Dr Ashok Khasa, veterinary surgeon, said.