TIMES NEWS NETWORK
BHUBANESWAR: Tourists visiting wildlife sancturies in Orissa will now have to turn vegetarian for the entire duration of their trip.
Concerned with the rampant poaching, the state government has banned cooking and eating of non-vegetarian food in all the 18 sanctuaries of the state.
The order, issued by the chief conservator of forests (CCF-wildlife), is being strictly implemented in the state.
Recently, more than 125 tourist vehicles, on a single day, were refused entry into the Similipal Tiger Reserve because they were found carrying meat and chicken for consumption.
Visitors to the Bhitarakanika Wildlife Sanctuary were also given the option to dump their non-veg fare and move forward or simply return.
'No-meat zone' notice is also being served on the hundreds of picnic parties visiting the casuriana-covered Puri-Konark marine drive area.
"We have been getting disquieting reports of widespread killing of wild animals and birds throughout the state. This move, I am sure, will check poaching to a great extent," forest minister Bijaysree Routray said.
Routray, who visited Chilka lake a few days back, said compared to last year poaching has gone up many fold.
The minister's statement coincides with a recent survey, which indicates that there has been a drastic fall in the number of migrant birds during the current winter season. The 15 sq km Nalabana sanctuary, a prime bird habitat, has been virtually destroyed in the face of opening of a new mouth to the Bay of Bengal and the consequent rise in the lake's salinity level. The minister was reluctant to offer comment on the lake's new channel, but said he saw fewer birds in Nalabana area.
"Since the birds no more feel at home in the sanctuary they are mostly flying to the fringe areas, much to the advantage of poachers."
The minister said that apart from joint patrolling by different forest wings and the police, regular raids on roadside dhabas, village committees in Chilka area had been promised incentives for providing tips on bird killings.
THE TIMES OF INDIA, SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2003 01:34:15 AM