MUSHALPUR, March 8 � At a time when all-out efforts are being made to restore forest and wildlife by non-govt organisations and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) in the Indo-Bhutan border areas of Baksa district, the continuation of age-old practice of hunting wild animals in the name of tradition has raised eyebrows of conscious citizens and nature lovers.
According to reports available, a group of about 40 people from adjoining areas of Dihira Reserve Forest entered the forest with axes, knives, bows and arrows, traps, catapults and other equipment for hunting wild animals on the occasion of �Falgun Parba� defying the verbal resistance of the activists of Manas Sousi Khongkhor Eco-Tourism Society � Uttarkuchi on February 28.
The NGO activists informed the local SSB camp under 32nd Bn but the villagers managed to escape through the interior jungles. In the evening the NGO activists met the villagers with some rabbits, mongoose and wild birds.
On March 1 a group of villagers entered the forest areas once again using another trail. Some of them were held with bows and arrows by the NGO activists and SSB personnel of Bhutankhuti camp under 32nd Bn.
The concerned Forest Department was informed about the matter, but no one turned up. Meanwhile, another group of villagers entered the deserted Nikashi seed farm in search of prey and ravaged the entire undergrowth, besides bursting crackers.
The concerned Forest Department is not ignorant about this practice of community hunting at this time of the year, but no precaution was taken by the department to check such practices.
Conscious citizens are of the view that such practices can be stopped with massive awareness programmes with the involvement of the local student and intellectual bodies from the tea garden areas as well as by joint field work of the forest officials, SSB personnel and conservation NGOs.