Aravallis turning into ‘mass graveyard’ of wildlife: Activists
Gurugram, Dec 27 (IANS) With the authorities turning a blind eye to the ongoing depredation, the Aravalli forest region is fast becoming a land of poaching and illegal construction as well as garbage dumping, wildlife activists said on Wednesday.
“Rampant wildlife poaching is happening in Aravallis. Peacocks caught in man-made metal traps is a common sight in this forest region. On most days, you will find decaying legs left in the man-made destructive devices,” said an officer of the Animal Walfare Board of India (AWBI).
And that’s not all. “Carcasses, feathers and bones of birds, cattle and other wildlife are also not a rarity. Many refer to the Aravalli forest region as a ‘mass graveyard’,” said the officer.
“Animal lovers and the residents have been raising an alarm, but the authorities are yet to wake up and act. A Gurugram resident even filed a complaint on December 9 against the rampant wildlife poaching in the Aravallis near Tata Raisina Residency on Golf Course Extension Road.
“A case was registered against a Delhi-based famous doctor eight years ago at Bhondsi Police Station, as he illegally trapped a female leopard after the big cat preyed on doctors’ dog in the farm house located in the foothills of Aravalli. But, no action was taken and later even the FIR was quashed,” Naresh Kadyan, Chairman – People for Animal, Haryana, told IANS.
“A young leopard was beaten to death by a village mob near Sohna last year, but no action was taken against the accused despite filing of a complaint… even a video of the incident was there… It was a result of man-animal conflict caused due to negligence of forest and wildlife officials,” Kadyan said.
According to the activists, lack of regular patrolling by the Forest Department officials is one of the primary reasons for the illegal poaching of peacocks and other animals. Only if the Aravalli forest is officially declared a wildlife area will the illegal and inhuman activities stop.
“Many unauthorised structures can be seen in the Aravallis. Activists and Animal Welfare Board Officers have reported several such structures. One such structure was made without the knowledge of the authorities. They have now been dismantled,” said Anil Gandas, Wildlife Conservator and Founder President of NGO Environment and wildlife Society.
“However, this points to a bigger issue as to how the structure using bricks, labour etc., was made without their knowledge, in the first place? There’s even a farmhouse here. Next to the farmhouse is a white board with Inspector General Y.P. Malik and Sanjay Malik written on it,” AWBI officer Shivani Sharma said in a statement.
But the illegal activities do not end even here. Forget animal rights and protection, garbage is also being dumped here on a large scale.
This puts the lives of birds and other wildlife in danger and can cause widespread irreparable damage to the eco-system.
Many activists also expressed suspicion that the villagers in the area were felling trees for wood. This called for immediate investigation by the officials in charge, the wildlife activists said.
“AWBI officers, animal loves and activists have offered solutions to the problem, like 24×7 patrolling and focussed plans by the government to save the Aravalli forest and its wildlife before it is too late. Another major issue is corruption and the government seems blind to it. Soon Aravallis will become a graveyard of these helpless birds and animals, and residences of senior government officials will come up,” officer Sharma added.
Haryana Forest Minister Rao Narbir Singh, however, could not be reached for his comments despite repeated attempts.
(Pardeep Singh can be reached at [email protected])