Wayanad: Forest staff to keep off patrol

Forest staff allege that they are attacked by villagers.

KALPETTA: The forest staff in Wayanad district are sacred to tread into the jungle villages due to recurring attacks by irate villagers who were enraged due the failure of forest department to reduce the human-animal conflicts in the region. More than nine persons were killed in wildlife attacks last year, according to farmers. The other day the villagers at Tirunelli had beaten up and harassed a group of forest staff, including women, who were moving to a village where a wild elephant had entered the human habitat and killed a person. Most of those involved in the attack were former wildlife criminals, it was pointed out.

The Kerala Forest Protective Staff Association state vice-president told DC that there were several incidents in the past where forest staff were attacked. “We were not given sufficient police protection,” he said and added that they were under pressure from political leaders not to file a complaint against the goons who attacked them. Wayand Wildlife Warden M.T. Sajan told DC that if the public fails to cooperate in the maintenance of the solar fencing, trenches and walls along the borders, the forest department will not be able to keep the wildlife away from human habitats. “The farming culture of Wayanad where farmers kept a vigilant eye over the crops burning midnight oil has been lost,” he lamented.

“If we are informed in time on the gaps in the fences we would be able to mend them in time and save the crops as well as human life,” Mr Sajan added. However, the organizations of forest staff have decided to keep off the patrol duties till there is an assurance from the department on their safety. Attacking forest staff who rush to the trouble zone to force back the elephants into jungle risking their lives would result in further worsening the situation, they warned.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story