Trekking community welcomes the decision to book defaulters
A group of 12 trekkers from Pune were caught inside the core area of Sahyadri Tiger Reserve by forest officials on April 30. The group was planning to hike Jungli Jaigad fort near Koynanagar, but they entered the core zone and stayed there.
After receiving information from the local villagers, assistant conservator of Forest, Suresh Salunke, Koyana booked the group under Indian wildlife Protection Act 1972 (Section 27 and 51), and produced them to tehsil court in Patan. The news received wide coverage in media and the trekking community welcomed the decision of the forest department.
“I feel the forest department did the right thing. If the area has been declared as a restricted one, then it should be respected. They were experienced trekkers, and if they do not follow rules, it is not good. The rules are same for everyone,” said Manoj Bhave, a Mumbai-based trekker.
Echoing him, Rajesh Jadhav of Heights Trekking Club, Alandi, said, “I don’t see the need to reach Nandoshi village to climb Jungli Jaigad. There are other approachable routes. Then they entered the restricted core zone. It was totally against the law and if they have done this deliberately, they deserve the punishment.”
On the contrary, Naresh Parab, Mumbai says that there are several trekking areas and routes in Sahyadris, but due to deforestation, the forest trails are reducing. So the forest department should allow certain number of trekkers per season, with prior booking.”
Nitin Sakare of Durgveer said, “What I feel it that no responsible trekker will dare to enter the restricted zone without permission. The forest department must put boards and mark the boundary of restricted area clearly.”
“Our job is to protect the wildlife and the forest. We also try to protect the humans from possible wild attacks. If this group would be been attacked by any wild animal, it would have been a worst scenario, as they were sleeping in the open in Tiger Reserve without any protection,” says Assistant Conservator of Forest, Suresh Salunke, Koyana