While the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam has released pictures of rare species like Asian Palm Civet, Indian Wild Dog, etc., forest officials fear poachers may target them.

TTD releases pics of rare wildlife in APs Seshachalam but forest officials wary
news Wildlife Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 08:30

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) on Monday released pictures of rare wildlife species captured by its camera traps, and boasted about the wildlife thriving in the Seshachalam forests in Tirupati under the TTD’s jurisdiction. The news has been widely reported. However, this move by the TTD has inadvertently jeopardised the wildlife, and the forest staff guarding them, say officials.

According to the TTD, they had set up state-of-the-art cameras at Parveti mandapam, Srigandha vanam, Kumaradhara-Pasupudhara dam road, Dharmagiri, Papavinasanam and Seshachala forest borders and were able to capture several endangered species like: Four-Horned Antelope, Asian Palm Civet, Indian Wild Dog, Grey Jungle fowl, Leopard, Mouse Deer, Porcupine and Sloth Bear in their jurisdiction.

However, by releasing pictures and announcing the presence of these animals in Seshachalam, forest officials fear that poachers may now set their eyes on these rare animals. 

An agitated senior officer from the Forest Department, speaking on condition of anonymity said, “These animals have been in this forest for many years, we are aware of its presence. But the TTD for its publicity stunt has released the pictures inviting attention from poachers. Do they care if we lose our lives?” 

Seshachalam is already notorious for red sanders smuggling. Often, the red sanders smugglers attack forest staff with stones and flee when they are being pursued for felling red sanders and sandalwood trees. Now, forest officials fear that they may have to deal with the added burden of poaching. 

The forest officer claimed that the TTD did not seek permission from them before releasing the pictures to the media. “Four of our cameras were used for our own internal survey, but without our knowledge they have used those photos for their publicity,” he alleged.

Expressing fear of the animals being poached, he said, “The Forest Department staff are almost in daily confrontation with the poachers. Now by releasing these photos, they have burdened us further, and also put the lives of endangered species in great danger.”

The Seshachalam forests are spread across 82,500 hectares, and 2,700 hectares of it falls under the TTD. 




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