The sighting of a tiger near human settlements outside the Nandapa National Park and Tiger Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh has led to the discovery of illegal timber stockpiles in the park’s core, a senior district official said.
A Royal Bengal tiger was caught on camera near the Deban Forest Inspection Bungalow in January this year. This is the second tiger found in Nandapa in eight years.
Large-scale timber smuggling in the national park was uncovered in a joint effort by the administration and the forestry department to ascertain why tigers ventured away from the core after 2015.
Nandapa National Park is located in Changlang District near the international border between China and Myanmar, covering an area of 1985 square kilometers, including 1808 square kilometers in the core area and 177 square kilometers in the buffer zone.
On March 14, the team led by Sunny K Singh, deputy director of the promenade, discovered multiple illegal timber warehouses in the core area of the park.
Timber smugglers have also carved out a 20-kilometer kutcha road in and around the core area of the park, Singh said.
Of the motorized roads only suitable for small trucks, 1-2 kilometers are within the park and the remainder is within the buffer zone.
The DC said the timber industry operates legally in the promenade area. Singh said the forestry department issues permits by setting quotas for felling trees, and factories produce veneer and plywood, which are then exported from the region.
“The problem is that people in the timber business have cut down more trees than allowed. They have even built a road in the national park to the core area and illegally felled trees and mined timber in the park since November last year. last year.
“It was a difficult operation, made more difficult by smugglers blocking our path with logs. However, our team members showed unmatched strength and cleared the way for us,” Singh said. told PTI on Saturday.
A district official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was difficult to understand how smugglers could carry out such a “large-scale illegal operation” under the noses of forestry department officials.
The government directed forest officials to ensure strict monitoring of all suspicious areas adjacent to Namdapha and to take stern action against smugglers.
Eight people were arrested in the operation.
The team also seized an excavator, a pickup and two trucks, one of which was loaded with timber. Another excavator and two trucks were found abandoned in the jungle, Mr Singh said. DC said two people were on the run, one from Arunachal Pradesh and the other from Assam.
It wasn’t just a coincidence that a Royal Bengal tiger was found near the Deban Inspection Bungalow in January this year, eight years later, DC said.
He attributes this to habitat destruction due to timber smuggling in the Mpen Nallah catchment area, a perennial stream.
“The Mpen Nallah watershed has dried up due to deforestation. It is the source of water for the Namdapha animals and the Hmong people. If there is a shortage of water, there will definitely be human-animal conflicts,” Singh said.
According to preliminary estimates, more than 2,000 CFT (cubic feet) of timber were found in several illegal warehouses along the way.
“The government is fully committed to protecting the rich flora and fauna of the national park. We will do everything within the law to preserve its sanctity,” Singh said.
Namdapha National Park is home to an exotic variety of floral and animal species and is the only place where four of the big cats (tiger, leopard, snow leopard and clouded leopard) are found.
(Aside from the title, this story is unedited by NDTV staff and published via a syndicated feed.)