West Bengal lacks forest management blueprint: experts

July 22nd, 2008 - 8:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, July 22 (IANS) Amid reports of animal deaths and destruction caused by elephants in several West Bengal villages, wildlife activists Tuesday said the government lacked a proper forest management blueprint to maintain the wildlife in the state. “Three elephants were poisoned at Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary during the Forest Week, observed by the state forest department in July 14-20. This apart, another jumbo was also mowed down by a speeding train early Tuesday (July 22) in the same forest area,” managing trustee of an animal welfare organisation, People for Animal (PFA), Debashis Chakraborty told IANS Tuesday.

He said the increasing incidents of elephant deaths show the growing trend of man-animal conflict in and around north West Bengal forest territories.

“The forest management activities are monitored by bureaucrats who hardly have any knowledge about the wildlife and the forest dwellers in our state. There’s a lack of coordination between the forest department officials and the people living in the forest region,” he said.

According to forest department sources, a herd of eight elephants entered Banarhat Tea Estate last week and damaged the property of the tea garden. Another 40-member elephant herd also entered Ramsai village near Moinaguri from Gorumara forest in northern West Bengal.

In south West Bengal districts, the man-elephant conflict reached a flash-point after two tuskers went on rampage at Nayagram in West Midnapore and another herd of five elephants damaged a tribal village, Peerdoba, near Bishnupur in Bankura district.

State Forest Minister Ananta Roy said the government is taking adequate measures to tackle the elephant death issue in the state.

“The matter has been taken up with the centre by state Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee himself and the state forest department. We are constantly in touch with villagers to generate awareness,” he said.

“The forest department is keeping a close watch on wildlife activities and any kind of forest protection norms violation across the sate,” Roy said.

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