Increased Poaching During Lockdown; Panther Dead
During lockdown, 42 cases of attempted poaching has been detected by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department so far.
In all of these cases, metal snares have been used to hunt wild animals.
In a tragic event, a panther, caught in such a snare and rescued by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department on June 15, passed away late Wednesday evening.
The panther, which had a large gash on its neck and stomach, thanks to the metal snare, was paralysed and subsequently died.
The incident took place in Mothepalayam in the Mettupalayam forest range.
The snare was found in a field belonging to a farmer by name Nataraj. These sharp metal snares are common in the area and are used to catch and kill rabbits and wild pigs that destroy crops.
On the night of June 14, a female panther entered the fields of Mothepalayam in search of game. Caught in the snare, the panther attempted to free itself and got further entangled, leaving deep gashes in the stomach and neck region.
Villagers informed the Forest Department about this on the morning of June 15.
The Forest Department arrived at around 3 pm on June 15 with members of an NGO and anti-poaching watchers to rescue the animal.
Having brought the big cat out, they took it for treatment to Mettupalayam.
Villagers though are upset that the Forest Department officials did not arrive earlier to rescue to panther.
Local anti-poaching watchers too agree that officials reacted late. They say that this is a regular feature in the department.
“First, they send two people to check out the situation,” an anti-poaching watcher told The Lede on condition of anonymity. “Once we report to the officials, there is a process by which a number of messages go back and forth to the DFO and then finally a team is given permission to visit the spot. A lot of time is wasted in this process. Many times, we do not have access to vehicles, especially at night, if elephants come into human habitations,” he said.
No cases have been booked against anybody so far with regard to setting of the snare.
“Enquiry has begun on Nataraj and we have asked him to remove the snare,” said DFO Venkatesh.