MYSURU: Though there have been regular drives from foresters and wildlife enthusiasts to remove the deadly snares from farmlands adjacent to forest areas, the number has not come down.
Foresters and wildlife activists believe that the growing demand for wild animals’ meat from revelers who visit the restaurants and resorts near forest areas has lured farm owners into catching the animals using snares.
Foresters said the snares made of metal wires are laid in farmlands mostly to catch wild boars and rabbits. There are several incidents where animals like tigers, leopards, deer, sloth bears and even elephants have got caught in the deadly traps and have been injured or got killed.
According to sources, farmlands adjacent to Nagarahole and Bandipur Tiger Reserves have hundreds of such snares to catch the wild animals. The miscreants manage to catch the animals caught in the snare during the night and immediately transport it to a safe place without coming to the notice of the foresters, they added.
Wildlife volunteers from Indian Anti Snare Combing Force (IASCF), which is headed by Navin Raj N, have organised several drives in forest areas in the state and removed hundreds of snares from the farmlands.
In the last week of January, the team removed nearly fifty deadly snares from agriculture fields bordering Nagarahole Tiger Reserve. Continuing their effort to remove the snares on February 10, nearly 30 volunteers conducted the drive at the borders of Karigala forest near Hunsur coming under Nagarahole Tiger Reserve and found 66 snares in just three hours.
Speaking to TOI, Navin Raj said these snares were laid to catch wild boars and rabbits that venture into farmlands.
“Some revelers who visit the resorts and restaurants during weekends demand wild animals’ meat. The hospitality centers then contact some farms bordering the forest areas offering them good money. This way the landowners are lured into laying more number of snares,” he said.
During the Sunday combing operation, Navin Raj and his team found 17 snares at just one farm in Hunsur. “The landowner has erected a fence around his farm but has left a few openings to allow wild animals to enter the farm. He laid snares at these openings to catch the wild animals,” Navin Raj said, adding that they found, more snares on farms near Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, than Bandipur.
When TOI contacted Nagarahole Tiger Reserve director K M Narayanaswamy, he said many strict measures have been taken to prevent miscreants from catching wild animals.