Kothagudem: In a major search operation undertaken jointly by forest and police, a huge haul of skins, horns, and nails of wild animals were seized at different Gothikoya habitations in the district on Tuesday. In all, 15 persons were arrested during the raids.
A task force comprising 100 forest department officials and personnel and around 30 police conducted raids on Gothikoya habitations of Chintalapadu and Chamannanagar in Mulakalapalli mandal falling under Paloncha forest division in the district.
The District Forest Officer (DFO) P Rambabu, who led the force, told Telangana Today that 10 raw hides of spotted deer, one sloth bear skin, around 40 horns of spotted deer, nilgai, four-horned antelope (chousingha), gaur (Indian bison), porcupine quills and wild boar tusks were seized from the inhabitants.
Besides, as many as 500 iron arrows and wooden bows, many snares, large quantity of electric wire used to hunt animals, three tractors and other hunting material were also seized during the raid, he revealed.
Chintalapadu is said to be one of the complicated villages in terms of wildlife hunting and felling of trees in the forests. The village elder called Chamanna, a notorious Gothikoya leader, who was supported by CPI (ML) New Democracy, was creating trouble for forest personnel.
‘Chamanna even had a new habitation, Chamannanagar, created after his name. He was involved in the case of detaining Mulkalapalli FRO Prasad and his staff when they tried to search the village sometime back and recently felled trees on five acres of forest area’
The villagers used to attack forest personnel when they visited the habitation for search operations. ‘With today’s raid, we effectively sent across the message that cutting down forests and hunting wild animals would be dealt with seriously and would not be tolerated anymore’ Rambabu said.
15 persons, including Chamanna, were arrested. Non-bailable cases under section 58 of Biodiversity Act and sections 9, 11, 39, 50, 51 and 2 (subsection 16) of Wildlife Protection Act were booked against the accused, the DFO informed.
Forest divisional officer Sujatha, Paloncha CI M Ramesh and others were present.