Poaching on the rise as demand for bushmeat soars in Bengaluru

Special drive planned to confiscate country weapons in Chitoor district

There has been a considerable spurt in poaching activity involving small game in the forests of Chittoor district, particularly in Palamaner and Piler ranges.

Senior forest officials said though the poaching activity was under check, of late the bustle had raised its ugly head and the reason is “high demand for bushmeat in Bengaluru”.

Giving credence to the suspicion among the forest officials is the increasing incidence of poachers arranging snares to hunt wild boars and deer. A few days ago, a sloth bear died after being caught in the snare arranged by poachers in the reserve forest near Palamaner.

Last week, the Rallabuduguru police in Kuppam circle arrested a man and confiscated a country rifle from him, after he had accidentally shot at a 14-year-old boy, while hunting wild boars.

Similarly, on January 4, the forest officials arrested an accused and seized a country rifle and some meat of sambhar at Bhakarapeta in Seshachalam ranges.

Small-time poachers are reportedly making a fast buck by supplying bushmeat, preferably of wild boar, rabbit, spotted deer and fowl, to their clients in Bengaluru.

Owing to COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for bushmeat, believed to be rich with protein and having medicinal values, has increased.

Divisional Forest Officer (Chittoor West) S. Ravi Shankar told The Hindu that there was some yet-to-be verified information with the department that there was a very big demand for bushmeat in Bengaluru, “which might have prompted recent spurt in hunting the small game.”

The official said it was possible that those involved in poaching might be cashing in on the demand.

The DFO said that to put an end to poaching, a special drive had been planned.

“We want to cover all the forest fringe villages and the hamlets in the forest enclosures and urge prople to cooperate with the forest department to preserve the flora and fauna. As a first step, we will ask those in possession of illegal firearms to surrender them to the area police and forest officers. Our next step will be to file criminal cases under Wildlife Protection Act,” Mr. Ravi Shankar added.

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