Mumbai: Poachers had 30 live snares inside Film City
Forest officials find the metal traps in 10-km radius during massive search of the area
The extensive search and combing operation carried out inside Film City after the carcasses of a leopard and sambar were found inside has thrown up around 30 live metal snares. All were found in a 10-km radius and forest officials believe these may have been set up by poachers to trap wild animals.
Interestingly, the majority of the snares were recovered from the area close to Film City where garbage is dumped and where dogs and deer come to feed and which in turn, attracts leopards. Biologist Nikit Surve said, "We found a lot of garbage around the carcasses of the wild animals. This garbage, which is high in salt content, is a huge attractant for herbivores. And, herbivores and domestic animals serve as attractants to the leopards."
30 people in search team
The search operation involving around 30 people, including staff of the Thane Forest Department (Territorial) , and volunteers from Aarey Milk Colony and Sanjay Gandhi National Park started the combing and search operation inside Film City around 10 am on Wednesday, which continued till late evening.
Range Forest Officer Santosh Kank said, "Three to four teams comprising 7-8 people each searched the entire Film City area and around 30 metal wire snares that were active in the forested patch were recovered. A majority of the snares were set up in the patch close to the film and television serial sets, and this fact will be thoroughly investigated."
During the visit, the team also found a of people illegally roaming inside the forest and they were interrogated by the department. Honorary Wildlife Warden of Mumbai Suburbs and Member of State Wildlife Board said, "Whosoever is placing these traps is evidently doing so at areas that herbivores like the spotted deer and sambar frequent.
The active snares that we have reoved has ensured that there will be no more mammal deaths because of them. Department staff has to conduct extensive and regular patrolling to ensure no more snares are found. Film City administration, too, has to conduct extensive patrolling and question people who roam the area at night, as poaching incidents usually happen at night."
Strict action, says forest minister
Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said, "I have asked the officials concerned to submit a report on the wild animal deaths in metal snares at Film City. Both incidents are serious and our staff will also be taking up the issue with Film City authorities and see if CCTV cameras can be installed to keep tabs on people roaming inside. Strict action will be taken against those found responsible for setting up the snares."
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