A wildlife cell is all set to become operational here with an aim to tighten the noose around poachers in the southern parts of Odisha. Built at an investment of Rs 25 lakh, the wildlife crimes and coordination cell (WCCC)is expected to begin operations soon, official sources said. The WCCC will maintain data of common wildlife crimes and habitual poachers in the area, while a round-the-clock control room will gather more details of such crimes, said Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Berhampur, A K Behera.
The centre will also keep a record of the availability of wild animals in the region comprising Ganjam, Gajapati, Kandhamal and Boudh districts, he said. It would help in proper coordination between the state wildlife crime cell, the office of the chief wildlife warden, regional office of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Kolkata, and some other agencies, the DFO said. In addition, the WCCC will be of interest to researchers and wildlife enthusiasts as all kinds of information, including the census data of different wild animals, will be made available.
The cell would create awareness among people about the need for conservation and protection of wildlife in the area, Behera added. The setting up of such a centre assumes significance amid frequent reports of poaching in the southern parts of the state. “Poaching is rampant in the area,” said Samira Pradhan, president, Ganjam District Peacock Protection Committee.
The region is home to several endangered animals like blackbucks, olive ridley turtles and pangolins. Altogether 105 wildlife crime cases were registered with the Berhampur forest circles in the last five years. Around 210 persons were involved in these crimes, the sources said. Similarly, 11 cases of wildlife organ trade were also registered during the period, with 28 persons having been arrested in this connection, they said.