SGNP's weapon against poachers: Phone records, gun permit database

Updated: Jan 11, 2019, 08:47 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Apart from intensifying patrolling in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, officials hope to catch hunters and bust any poaching networks with this new information

Suresh Kindra, a cleaner in Film City, was among those arrested for the recent poaching incidents
Suresh Kindra, a cleaner in Film City, was among those arrested for the recent poaching incidents

Shaken by the brazen poaching of leopard and sambar at Film City and inside the protected Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), the park officials have decided to arm themselves with a powerful weapon against hunters: information. Firstly, to figure out whether the arrested accused are part of a poaching network, officials will compare their Call Detail Record (CDR) to the phone records of all poachers caught in the past in Mumbai. Secondly, in order to prepare against any future hunting attempts in the park, the authorities have also asked the city police for a list of citizens who hold a weapons permit in Mumbai and Thane. This will help them identify and track down anyone who shoots wildlife in SGNP.

Beefed-up patrolling
Sources from the Forest Department told mid-day that on Thursday, SGNP Director and Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) Anwar Ahmed held urgent meetings with park officials and issued clear instructions to ensure rigorous patrolling inside the park, along with search operations for snares.
Those who are found trespassing inside the park will be questioned, and action will be taken as per the law. The officials also decided to revisit all old cases for leads on the recent incidents.

Ahmed told mid-day that patrolling will be intensified inside the park, with Geographic Information System (GIS)-based monitoring. All the roads inside the park will be repaired on priority for effective patrolling. Forest department officials will be given a GIS-enabled device, and each guard on patrolling duty will have to map his movement and mark important observations like direct and indirect sightings of animals. All this data will be monitored on a day-to-day basis by senior officials.

Official speak
Ahmed said, "We are in constant touch with the Thane Forest Department team that is investigating the Film City case, and they are helping us with information they have received from the accused during interrogation. We have also decided to approach the police for a list of citizens who possess private arms licences in Mumbai and Thane."

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