Current Status of big cats in Goa
- 2 tigress, 1 tiger in Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary
- 1 tigress, along with 2 cubs, migrated to Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary Mollem due to territory conflict
Recent incidents of big cat killings in Sattari
- December 23, 2022 : A leopard found dead in a hunting trap at Kopardem
- January 2020: 4 tigers, including 3 cubs and a mother tigress
- 2009 : Royal Bengal Tiger killed in Querim
VALPOI: Renowned Environmentalist Rajendra Kerkar urged to activate an existing inactive anti-poaching squad of the Department of Forest to protect the rich Goan wildlife.
According to Kerkar, the non-functional anti-poaching squads have given a free hand to the locals to set traps and poach wild animals with much audacity.
Stating that many such incidents have occurred in parts such as Dhavem, Morlem, Querlim, Kerkar said that the lethargy of the forest department is resulting in the killing of big cats.
Kerkar alleged that the locals from parts of Sattari for being involved in the stunning and killing of wild animals by the process of electrocution. “It doesn’t end here. Killing wild animals by setting cable traps has also emerged to be their modus operandi to kill the wild animals”.
Poaching wild animals is not just illegal but a criminal offence as per the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act. Despite this, people across the State openly poach wild animals due to blessings from authorities.
Speaking further, Kerkar said the recent incident of a leopard being killed in the trap set to kill wild boar at Koprdem is unfortunate and is fearing invitation to many such unfortunate incidents if not probed thoroughly.
“If such incidences continue, then the day won’t be far when all wild animals go extinct, leaving behind humans with irrevocably damaged eco-system”, said Kerkar.
Elucidating how an ecological balance is essential to maintain the food chain, Kerkar said tiger being seated at the apex of the food chain, continuous reduction in the tiger population might lead to an irreversible effect on the ecosystem.
Speaking further, Kerkar said the State government, on the directions of National Tiger Conservation Authorities, had established the anti-poaching camps and squads across the State to keep a strict vigil on poaching activities. Accordingly, the wildlife division has established the squads with a dedicated team in various parts of Goa, including that of Sattari.
Focusing on the Status of these squads in Sattari, Kerkar said the State government has set up anti-poaching camps/squads in the forests of Sattari with dedicated staff, manpower, watch towers and other facilities, but unfortunately, carelessness from the authority’s end is helping locals to poach fearlessly.
Criticizing the State government for not taking a firm decision pertaining to declaring the critical sites as a tiger reserve, Kerkar said the State government is hesitant in declaring the key tiger sites as tiger reserves since it is trying to shield the mining and other related activities.
Kerkar urged that strict action be taken against the criminals involved in poaching activities with zero political interference.