Uttarakhand: A slaughter house of wild life

An_elephant_herd_at_Jim_Corbett_National_ParkDehra Dun: Uttarakhand is known for its bio-diversity. Its thick and abundant forests abound in wild life, which has perhaps kept this small mountain state on the radar of poachers and smugglers of animal parts, especially organs which are in demand in the international market.

The Special Task Force (STF) and local police working in tandem on a tip-off recently arrested five persons from next to the collectorate here and were shocked on the recovery made from them. They recovered two leopard hides, two gall bladders of sloth bear and a pod of the musk deer, which put together, would have cost something like Rs 25 lakhs in the international market.

It is very obvious that wild animals are being literally slaughtered by the poachers working at the behest of smugglers. Incidentally the smugglers are not themselves involved in the poaching as police investigations have revealed, but they actually pay the poachers to make the kill and deliver the items to them at pre-designated places.

According to the police, the five persons who were arrested, three of them belong to the border district of Chamoli which has gained notoriety for poaching of wild animals, specially leopards, one was from Nepal, which happens to be the route of the smugglers to send the animal parts to an adjoining country where they are used in medicines and one was from Dehra Dun itself.

Rhino_poaching_UttarakhandIt is another thing when the poachers kill herbivores like deer or other animals as wild boar for the pot, which is also quite rampant, but to kill leopards and tigers or bears just for their parts which are smuggled abroad, to make a quick buck has the authorities here concerned, because it is this killing which is telling on the animal strength in the wild, specially tigers and leopards.

In the ten months this year, the authorities have recovered 28 skins of leopards, three of tigers, 13 gall bladders of sloth or brown bear, four pods of the musk deer and 69 kgs of ivory. And this is what has been recovered, which could be the proverbial tip of the iceberg, not to mention the attempts in which the smugglers may have succeeded and smuggled out the animal parts.

This about shows the extent to which animals are being killed in the forests of Uttarakhand, especially leopards, tigers and bear. The musk deer, which is an endangered species, is also on the lens of the poachers is a worrisome fact.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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2 Comments

  1. says: Joan Chadwick

    terrible news-and I think we all know the name of the “adjoining country” where these parts are going……

  2. says: Lt Gen Dr Mohan Bhandari

    Atrocious to say the least !Faculties fail in finding suitable words to describe such heinous & gory acts of the ‘Poaching Mafia’ -fully aided & abetted by those who are being paid from the Govt coffers to safeguard the biodiversity.A lot of money is involved & the Mafia Gang has international dimensions. I have been crying horse over the years that the management of our forests especially the CTR & its adjoining areas need to be handed over to experts ,who would employ latest & scientific techniques at par with the best in the world.I think the State Forest Department has failed miserably on all fronts.They do a lot of paper work,fudge figures,give a number of power presentations,show wild life films shot by professionals & organise seminars & sports.The top hierarchy visit foreign countries in the pretext of attending Wild Life Seminars, etc, etc..What is the end state ? The end state is the devastation of our forests & the precious wild life.At Saint Moritz (Switzerland), I was asked recently as to why India is not doing anything to eliminate the poaching/slaughter of tigers/panthers/elephants/bears etc, My head hung in shame as I was shown photos around the CTR !! I had virtually no answer .Under these circumstances, we do not need the Forest Department.Let professionals & ground workers be outsourced.As it is, the CTR needs to be put under a moratorium for at least 5 years so that it can be improved.All constructions near the core areas must be removed.The Honourable High Court could help here !

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