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Deer poaching in Sundarbans rising at alarming rate

UNB . Khulna
22 Jul 2023 15:13:42 | Update: 22 Jul 2023 21:40:02
Deer poaching in Sundarbans rising at alarming rate
— Representational Photo

Deer poaching from the Sundarbans has increased at an alarming rate allegedly due to the authorities’ inaction and involvement of some unscrupulous forest officials, posting threat to the ecosystem of the world largest mangrove forest.

Locals said poachers have become desperate as the demand for venison has increased due to its low price in the surrounding areas adjacent to the Sundarbans. The activities of these poachers increase during various festivals.

Deer, the main attraction of the Sundarbans, is losing its existence while the eco-system of the forest is being destroyed due as indiscriminate poaching of the wild animal.

The poachers manage dishonest forest officials to get pass for entering the Sundarbans in the guise of fishermen and hunt deer, locals alleged.

Koyra upazila administration sources said deer hunting is rampant in Koyra upazila. In the past three months, police seized 532kg of venison from different parts of the upazila, one slaughtered deer, and skins of five deer and head of a deer.

Ten cases have been filed so far and police arrested six members of a deer poaching syndicate, they said. With this, a total of 50 poachers were arrested in the six months of the year.

Prof Anwarul Quadir, executive director of Sundarbans Academy, said “A syndicate has long been involved in deer hunting, specially spotted deer. Actual number of deer hunting is several times more than that of the amount of seized venison and skin.”

"Sometimes deer meat, skin, head are seized in one or two raids, but the main poachers and smugglers remain out of reach. In most cases, meat carriers are caught. They returned from jail a few days later and engaged in the same act due to weak laws,” he said.

He added that deer are the main food of tigers in the forest. “All animals are needed to balance the ecosystem of the Sundarbans. If you don't have one, the system is broken.”

Somaiman Gazi, a resident of Dakkhin Bedkashi union of Koyra upazila, said 30 poaching syndicates are active in the upazila as may residents of the union are involved in many work related to the Sundarbans.

Koyra Upazila Nirbahi Officer, Mominur Rahman, said the criminal activities in Koyra centering the Sundarbans is a major concern for them and he urged the authorities concerned to strengthen surveillance to check deer poachers.

Abu Naser Mohsin Hossian, Sundarbans West Zone Divisional Forest Officer, claimed that deer poaching has decreased to a great extent due to the patrolling of Rab, coast Guard, BGB and forest officials.

Besides, it is difficult to control the criminal activities with the poor resources, he said.