STAFF REPORTER IMPHAL, 24th Nov:
Even though the government has enacted various legislations to safeguard wildlife, yet poaching or killing of various wild animals and birds by the people due to lack of knowledge or compassion is happening frequently in the state with the latest incident being the killing of a Himalayan Black Bear at Kangoi Khullen in Machi block under Tengnoupal district on Friday.
Himalayan Black Bear is an animal protected under Schedule II of Wild Life Protection Act.
The bear was killed by villagers deep in the jungle while going for hunting on Friday.
Speaking to this daily in connection with the killing of the bear, environmentalist Dr Kh Shamungou informed that the Himalayan Black Bear which the village hunters have killed is included in the Schedule II of the Wild Life Protection Act.
He further informed that there are two types of bears found in Manipur namely Himalayan Black Bear and Malayan Sun Bear. The one which has been killed is a Himalayan Black Bear. The bear can be identified through the white colour V-shaped chest mark on them. A fully grown Himalayan Black Bear weights 150-160 kilograms and has a height of about 56 to 65 inches (nose to tail). The bear was found abundantly in the state earlier but their population has decreased considerably now.
Shamungou also said that Himalayan Bear is a little above the danger mark as compared to endangered Sangai which is included in Schedule I. However, if proper protection is not provided, these type of bears will also become endangered. Therefore, there is the need on the part of the government to prevent killing of such bear type by setting up certain rules.
The environmentalist further informed that Malayan Sun Bear, on the other hand, is found in very few numbers in the state. The sun bear is the smallest of the bears. Adults are about 47–59 inches long and weigh 27–80 kg. Males are 10–20 per cent larger than females. Villagers say that such bears are normally found in Yangoupokpi Lokchao Wild Life Sanctuary area.
Meanwhile, interacting with this daily, villagers of Kangoi Khullen said that the Himalayan Black Bear is mainly hunted for meat and selling the bile of the animal which could fetch around Rs 6/7 lakh.
They disclosed that bears were normally killed at the rate of 2 to 3 bears in the village some 5/6 years back. However, now it is hard to kill one as their numbers have declined.
The killing of the bear in the Tengnoupal district village contradicts the campaign launched in Senapati district, where different organisations are working to protect wild animals and birds.