BENGALURU: Backed by political leaders and anti social elements, the villagers living around the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary are resorting to attacks on forest officials. The attacks are on the rise after the recent shootout incident where a resident of Doddahalli was shot dead.
Fearing more attacks, the foresters have suspended patrolling duties in the sanctuary. The foresters who retaliated a shooting group and killed a poacher are now demanding police protection for them and their family members.
On Monday, the staff from Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and surrounding divisions met the Wildlife Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) Sugara Kishen Singh at Aranya Bhavan in Malleswaram and requested protection from villagers and anti- social elements who are instigating the attacks.
Problems for foresters began after the stringent action they took on the night of March 16. The cross firing took place during night hours and on the morning of March 17, the body of Gurumurthy from Doddahalli was discovered at the shooting place along with a rifle and poached wildlife.
This is not the first time poachers and smugglers have got political connections in Kanakapura and Ramanagara. Earlier, the forests along the Cauvery river were not given the status of sanctuary and poaching was regular in these areas. After the forests were included as wildlife sanctuary, protection measures were improved. New anti-poaching camps were set up at crucial points inside the sanctuary.
Several trade routes between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka were shut to curb the illegal smuggling of wildlife contraband and other banned substances such as alcohol.
Hence the death of a person in a shooting has given a chance to anti-social elements to go against the foresters.
Wildlife PCCF Sugara Singh said higher officials in the police department have been explained about the situation and action will be taken on other poachers who were present in the forest on the night of March 16. “We are collecting the weapon information from the villages that are located on the fringes,” the officer added.