Tag : saviours

    To protect biodiversity, Himachal park authorities turn 'hunters' into 'saviours'

    Pankaj Sharma
    September24/ 2022

    Kullu: Amid the presence of the highly-endangered western tragopan pheasant and a good population of the wide-roaming snow leopard, with a bulk of its occurrence reported outside protected areas when the harsh winter forces prey mammals to migrate to lower altitudes, authorities of the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP), a UNECSO World Heritage site in the northwestern Himalayas, fear for their vulnerability. The authorities rely on local people for gathering intelligence and safeguarding the wild flora and fauna species. Ahead of the onset of winter, the authorities gear up to protect Western Himalayan biodiversity that comprise many medicinal herbs, 31 mammal and 209 bird species, mainly from mountain settlements in 16 panchayats in the buffer zone called an eco-zone of the park. "We have started the process to deploy sufficient staff for group patrolling to check poaching during the winter," Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Nishant Mandhotra, who is in-charge of GHNP, told IANS. He said that camera trapping devices will be installed in at least 20 highly-sensitive locations mainly in Tirthan-Sainj regions. Besides monitoring the movement of animals, the camera devices play a crucial role in keeping a tab on poachers who are largely locals owing to tough topography. "Since most of the villagers have licensed guns for protection of self and crops, the chances of using them for poaching are high despite the ban on hunting. Historically, village communities depend on natural resources, especially during the harsh winters when foodstuff depletes, we prefer to hire locals to minimise chances of game hunting," he added. By engaging with the local villagers and understanding their socio-economic needs, the park authorities turned th ...

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