Concerned over the recent cases of poaching related to marine mammals and to strengthen marine ecosystem protection, the Forest officials will begin the task of forming first of its marine elite force within the department.
“Protection of marine mammals will now get more impetus and the project was recently announced by the State Forest minister and we will begin the works shortly,” Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife warden Shekhar Kumar Niraj told DT Next. The marine elite force will focus on the protection of all marine animals ranging from a whale to sea cucumber and sea horses, the top official said.
The new elite force will be strengthened with modern arms and communication devices that will be required for coastal protection. New modern boats will be procured for the department and the sea surveillance and patrol will be increased in areas that are rich in marine life, the chief wildlife warden said exuding confidence that the new task force will coordinate with other security agencies to collect intelligence and prevent poaching of sea animals.
“All the coastal districts in TN will get the elite force and the State has identified 16 critical wildlife divisions with the incidence of poaching and these areas will be the prime focus of the wildlife division,” Niraj added.
According to State wildlife headquarters sources, efforts are on to develop wildlife surveillance in forest and marine divisions. As of date, territorial and wildlife divisions are supported by 13 forest protection squads, 17 forest stations and 11 roving check posts, functioning at important and vulnerable areas throughout the State. There are 112 forest check posts with surveillance facilities.
Meanwhile, to consolidate the forest lands by survey and demarcation of forest boundaries using advanced technologies like Differential Global Positioning Systems (DGPS) Survey, Remote Sensing and Geographical Information System (GIS) technologies are now being strengthened with the department undergoing the regular annual upgradation programmes, wildlife sources said.