State-wide ban on hunting weapons soon

STAFF REPORTER
IMPHAL, 23rd June: Forest & environment minister Th Shyamkumar announced on Friday that the government, apart from banning air guns to prevent killing of wild animals and maintaining ecological balance, will also forbid the use of barrel guns by those residing in the adjoining areas of Keibul Lamjao soon. State's Forest Department and Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun jointly conducted a state-level stakeholder workshop on Management Planning of Keibul Lamjao National Park and Conservation of Sangai at Hotel Classic Grande, Chingmeirong.

Speaking at the workshop as chief guest, Shyamkumar highlighted that people are well aware of the changes in the environment globally and the sea change in the climatic conditions in the last few years. "We are witnessing unpredictable weather," he said, adding that at the slightest rainfall the water level of rivers rises and causes flash floods.

"Extensive felling of trees in catchment areas of major rivers is a major factor of rising the water level of rivers all of a sudden. On the other hand, widespread hunting of wild animals without any prohibitions has an adverse impact on natural food chain system and affects the ecological balance in a big way," Shyamkumar said.

Announcing that that the government is keeping an eye on these drastic changes and is well prepared to launch preventive measures by recognising these challenges, he said hunting of wild animals with air guns should be prohibited to maintain ecological balance.

The state cabinet will soon take a decision to forbid the use and sale of air guns, the forest minister said, adding that a ban will be imposed on the possession of barrel guns by those residing in the adjoining areas of Keibul Lamjao. "There is no need for the local residents to own these guns as they could kill wild animals with them. If owning guns is indeed necessary for security reasons then they could possess small firearms," Shyamkumar said.

Stressing that it is important to create awareness among the villagers residing around Keibul Lamjao first to protect the rare Sangai deer species, he said it can never be protected if an alternative means of livelihood is not provided to the villagers and as such it is essential to take up welfare schemes for those residing in the adjoining areas of Keibul Lamjao.

The state government will discuss the measures that can be adopted for them during a cabinet meeting, Shyamkumar informed. Meanwhile, Wild Life Institute of India's scientist G Dr S A Hussein informed that the institute has recently taken up a project to save not only Sangai but Amur Falcon found in Tamenglong.

Several consultative meetings for protecting Sangai were also conducted, he informed, adding that several discussions were held at the locality level to decide the activities that can be performed at the ground level. The opinions expressed by the locality members carry a lot of weight and their inclusion in the state's recommendation will go a long way in protection of Sangai, he observed. Forest & Environment additional chief secretary Sambhu Singh presided over the event which also witnessed participation of principal chief conservator of forests, K Angami .


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