Mumbai: Hunt on in Film City for death traps planted by poachers

Updated: Jan 11, 2020, 08:05 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Forest officials start de-snaring, combing operation two days after Maharashtra Security Force guards found live metal snares in the forest patch inside Film City

The forest department officials have begun crackdown on poaching attempts inside Film City, located near Sanjay Gandhi National Park, after Maharashtra Security Force (MSF) guards found three live snares while patrolling on Wednesday.

On Friday, the Thane Forest Department (Territorial) launched a combing and de-snaring operation inside Film City and. A total of 25-30 forest department staff members along with MSF security guards and 10 volunteers conducted foot patrolling.

"The combing operation started around 11 am today and went on till 4 pm. We scanned the area where MSF guards had found the snares but did not found any today. The de-snaring and combing operation would continue for another two-four days," a forest department official told mid-day on Friday on condition of anonymity.

The forest department has also asked the Film City administration to increase night patrolling in the forest patch that comes under their jurisdiction, and install more night vision CCTV cameras to ensure no outsiders enter the area, sources said.

"The Film City administration was suggested to increase the number of CCTV cameras and they have agreed to do so. In the meantime, we are also increaing patrolling and working out a plan so that we can conduct de-snaring operations on regular basis," the forest official official said.

On Wednesday, five MSF guards, appointed by Film City, were patrolling the forest area when two of them stumbled upon a live snare. They expanded their search and recovered two more. After dismantling all three snares, they immediately informed the forest department.

The forest department had beefed up surveillance inside Film City after a leopard got trapped in a snare and died in December. Later, people suspected to be behind the incident were arrested.

Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (APCCF) Sunil Limaye had on Thursday told mid-day that the Film City administration is yet to implement a majority of the forest department's recommendations made in January last year to tackle poaching.

"As the particular forest patch comes under the jurisdiction of Film City administration, it should conduct strict vigil in the area to prevent such incidents. Our department is always available to help them and they can also help us with information that may help catch the culprits," he said.

"They have not yet issued identity cards to the tribal residents to prevent entry of outsiders. They should also secure the campus as the compound wall at present is incomplete or broken at many places. We had also asked them to share with the forest department intelligence on any sighting or unnatural wildlife activity. But we haven't heard from them about these measures yet," he said. Film City administration didn't respond to mid-day's calls for comment.

No. of live snares the MSF guards found on Wednesday

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