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Monday, May 7, 2012

Incentives mulled to keep NE tribals from clutches of poachers

SUNDAY, 06 MAY 2012 23:46 PIONEER NEWS SERVICE | NEW DELHI Providing incentives to hunting tribes of North-East for community conservation of forests is the new mantra that wildlife officials have decided upon. The measure comes amid mounting concerns over the vulnerability of the region to illegal international wildlife trade. The meeting noted with alarm that a majority of local communities from North-East that still sustains itself through “bush hunting” (hunting for meat) is joining hands with professional big cat poachers from Central India. It discussed ways and means of weaning the locals back from hunting practices through community conservation of forest. The officials of security forces manning the borders in the region, customs, police and forest departments were brought together by Traffic India and World Wildlife Fund for the first time to brainstorm over ways to control the crime. It was hosted by the State Forest Department of Arunachal Pradesh. “The idea was to drive home the point that implementation of wildlife act can not be effectively implemented just by the forest department --- especially considering the porous borders that these States share with Myanmar and China”, pointed out Khalid Pasha, head of Traffic India. Other accompanying agencies have also to act on time concertedly and need to be sensitised for the purpose, he added The emerging tiger presence in reserves as Dampa, Namdapha in Arunachal Pradesh besides growing demand for new species as pangolins coupled with the growing fur and bone trade in Myanmar have made it more imperative for the coming together of these agencies to control the crime. One of the richest hot spots in biodiversity, the Morey border in Manipur was acting as a convenient transit point of not only tiger parts but also turtle meat, otter skin, besides scales and meat of pangolins for use in Chinese Traditional Medicines, Pasha pointed out. These products conveniently make their way into Myanmar which is well connected to not only the Indian border but also with Bangladesh, Thailand and China. The upcoming Myanmar market has flocked professional hunting community of big cats the Bawarias from Central India to the North-Eastern states. The meeting noted with alarm how the local tribal communities are being lured by them to actively participate in poaching activities, as they are well aware of the landscape. Metal traps, snares and a deadly poison called acolyte (that instantly paralyses the central nervous system of the animal) is being largely used. The meeting brought to light amongst the officials the various modus operandi being deployed by the poachers in this regard. The issue also came up for serious discussion in the recent meeting of the National Tiger Conservation Authority with the Field Directors of tiger reserves across the country.

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