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Poaching is rampant in Kumaon : Study

The Times of India News Service, November 10, 1997

ALIGARH: Organised groups of poachers are wreaking havoc on wildlife in the Kumaon hills of Uttar Pradesh.

According to a report prepared by the Wildlife Society of India and researchers from Aligarh Muslim University, apart from illegal timber trade and seasonal forest fires, the situation had been aggravated with some hotels and resorts near the Jim Corbett Park organising games for tourists “who hunt for pleasure”.

The animals generally targeted were the musk deer, the Himalayan black bear and the leopard as they fetched huge sums of money in the national and international markets.

The forest complex round the Binsar wildlife sanctuary and Jageshwar were said to be a favourite with the poachers. Hunting activities usually went unnoticed due to the rugged terrain and the “active involvement” of local people. Munsiyari and Sobla in Pithoragarh district were said to be the important trading centres for such activities in the border areas.

The forest department, the report said, was unequipped and understaffed to deal with the menace. It said poaching operations were mostly organised during the winters as the animals came down to lower altitudes during that time and could be easily spotted because of the snow.

According to the report, which has been presented to the ministry of environment, poachers generally used routes where there were no checkposts. It has sought the formation of an anti-poaching task force to deal with the situation.