Dehradun, September 12
Amid allegations that certain wildlife non-government organisations in Uttarakhand are encouraging villagers to go for poaching and subsequently getting them arrested in order to bring laurels to their organisations, the forest authorities, along with the state police, have started investigations on the directions of the Union Environment and Forest Ministry.
Two wildlife conservationist NGOs that have in recent years got much accolades for helping to nab poachers are finally turning out to be suspect themselves. The revelations came after the arrest of some persons with a leopard skin in Hardiwar last month. These arrests had come after a tip-off given by these two NGOs.
However, on interrogations, the arrested poachers made a startling revelation that they were paid by the wildlife NGOs.
Though forest officials for long have been admitting that these NGOs play a dubious role and even resort to luring villagers into poaching and finally getting them arrested.
This certainly is the result of the competition among various wildlife NGOs for registering a higher number of wildlife seizures which in turn results in increased donations and accolades, a charge repeatedly denied by these NGOs.
However, a recent letter from the Union Environment and Forest Ministry directing the Uttarakhand Forest Department to probe these allegations has forced the forest authorities to go for swift investigations.
SK Dutt, anti-poaching cell head in Uttarakhand, admitted that he had received a letter from the Union Environment Ministry seeking detailed information about some wildlife NGOs working in the state in view of repeated allegations against these organisations of being facilitators of poaching.
Dutt added that they would investigate the matter and send their report shortly to the ministry.
The working of the wildlife conservation NGOs in Uttarakhand have been under scanner for quite some time. Dr Hem Singh Gehlot, who has been associated with wildife NGOs in the state for the past many years, asserts that the NGOs should play a constructive role. “The NGOs must act as watchdogs and should not just go to such low levels”, he said, adding that the Forest Department had already issued guidelines for wildlife NGOs working in Uttarakhand.

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