Although deer in the Sunderbans have had relief from the attacks of tigers and pirates, these days they fall victim to traps and shooting by hunters
Deer poaching and hunting in the Sunderbans have increased recently at an alarming rate as poachers have become desperate, bringing a new threat to this vegetarian animal.
Although deer in the Sunderbans have had relief from the attacks of tigers and pirates, these days they fall victim to traps and shooting by hunters.
In the last two weeks of January, the Forest Department and members of Bangladesh Coast Guard in separate drives arrested 10 poachers and recovered 78kg venison, 10 deer skin and one dead deer. However, their godfathers remain out of touch.
The Forest Department also claimed that its drive against deer poaching and hunting was going on.
Locals said people did not hesitate to buy venison at Tk 500 to Tk 600 per kg as many liked the meat.
Although the authorities have a list of deer hunters and meat traders, the administration does not take any action against them, allege local residents.
There are allegations that poachers are doing their business by managing a section of staff both at the Forest Department and the local administration.
Abed Khan, a resident of Banishanta village in Dacope upazila in Khulna, alleged that deer poaching was going on in full view of the administration. But it had taken no steps to arrest the poachers.
According to reports, Forest officers in Bagerhat detained a man with 22 kg venison from Sundarbans Dhashervarani area adjacent to Shoronkhola upazila on 31 January.
With this, in two separate drives in the last two weeks of the month, they managed to seize 69 kg of venison, 19 deer skins and one tiger skin from Bagerhat district, arresting in all seven members of a poacher gang.
The poacher with 22 kg venison was identified as Md. Milon Morol, 35, son of Abdul Lothib Morol of North Dewali village of Jashore district under Jhikorgacha upazila.
Tipped off, members of the Forest Department conducted a special raid in the Dhashervarani area and detained Milon, a member of the poacher gang, confirmed Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Mohammad Belayet Hossain.
Milon Morol illegally infiltrated the Sundarbans, hunted down Chital from the forest and slaughtered them. Later he tried to sell them off, the DFO said.
Mohammad Belayet Hossain also said the Forest Department intended to hunt down other members of the gang.
A case has already been lodged against the poacher under the The Forest Act. He will be deputed to Bagerhat court.
Earlier, West Zone members of the Coast Guard on a drive detained three smugglers along with a deer head and 47 kilograms of venison from Bagerhat’s Diraj Bazar area under Mongla Upazila last Monday. Prior to that, on Jan 23, Dhaka Detective Branch of Shoronkhola Upazila seized 19 deer skins on a drive from the Shoronkhola Upazila Bus stand and arrested two deer poachers and two more from the smuggler syndicate.
Besides, a joint drive by the Sundarbans Department and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) was successful in nabbing Gaus Fakir, a member of the poacher gang, with a tiger skin in his possession on Jan 19.
According to Forest Department information, the activities of forest robbers have decreased but the deer poaching gangs have become more desperate in the Sunderbans and its adjacent areas.
Habibun Nahar, deputy minister for environment, forest and climate change, said it was not easy to detain criminals in forest areas on the part of the law enforcers.
Dacope Police station Officer-in-Charge Sekandar Ali said police drives against forest robbers and poachers would continue.