BARIPADA: The Similipal National Park seems to be turning into a haven for poachers as reports of wild animals being hunted continue to come in. On Monday, officials of Baripada wildlife division seized 10.5 kg of elk meat near Godipokhari- Sansole.
However, the poachers managed to give forest personnel the slip. Sources said a group of poachers had killed an elk inside the forest and later distributed the meat among them. One of them was returning home with his share when he was confronted by a forest staff. Before he could be nabbed, the poacher dumped the meat and escaped into the forest.
A search was also launched to apprehend the poachers but to no avail. Ranger LD Behera said the seized meat was buried by the department. On December 15, two constables of Odisha police were arrested for poaching in the core area of the tiger reserve.
The carcass of a barking deer was seized from their possession besides the gun which they used for hunting the animal. The arrest of the duo from the core area with a gun raised serious questions on the protection measures in the reserve. Divisional forest officer (DFO) of Baripada Santosh Kumar Joshi said the department is conducting regular patrolling to check poaching.
Apart from forest personnel, protection assistants have also been engaged in the drive. According to reports, 30 per cent of the forest guard posts are lying vacant in Baripada wildlife division due to which patrolling activities have taken a hit.