JAGATSINGHPUR: Irked over frequent crop depredation by the wildlife, farmers of Ramchandrapur in Raghunathpur block caught a deer and detained a forest team which had come to rescue the animal on Wednesday.
The irate farmers demanded erection of barbed wire fence to prevent entry of wild animals from the nearby Dhartangada forest and compensation for the crop damage.
Dhartangada forest, situated in Raghunathpur, is home to hundreds of deer. Every day, deer stray into agriculture fields in search of food and damage paddy and vegetable crops, resulting in heavy losses for local farmers. Apart from paddy, the animals feast on green gram, brinjal, cucumber and okra crops.
The worst-hit villages are Ramchandrapur, Gopalpur, Kakudia, Salijanga, Deulisahi, Erandphal, Kaladhari, Pandara, Pitambarpur and Puranabasant which are situated near Dhartangada forest.
On the day, villagers spotted a deer feasting on paddy crops, caught the animal and tied its legs. On being informed about the incident, a three-member team led by forester Pitabas Mohapatra reached the village to rescue the deer. However, villagers refused to hand over the animal and detained the forest team.
Ranger Balaram Sahoo said senior forest officials rushed to Ramchandrapur, pacified the irate locals and rescued the team. Villagers released the deer after a committee comprising five members was formed to assess crop damage by wild animals.
"Compensation will be provided to affected farmers basing on the crop damage report. We will also conduct an inquiry into the illegal trapping of the deer. If it is found that the wild animal was ill-treated, action will be taken against the culprits," Sahoo informed.
The ranger further said the Forest department has submitted a proposal to the State government for erection of barbed wire fence near Dhartangada forest.