A woman drying Silparo (a herb) in this recent photo.
JAJARKOT, Jan 21: Precious herbs and wildlife in the jungles of Jajarkot are fast disappearing due to poaching, say the locals of the district. Police and forest officials also admit to the claim.
“Strong nexus of smugglers amid ineffective mechanisms to counter them has led to the unfortunate situation. Several types of birds and animals as well as rare herbs are being drained away from the forest,” said Badri Panta, a local of Laha VDC. “We do not have the exact figure on this. However, we are sure that the illegal activities are thriving of late,” he added.
Birds like dove and lophura leucomelanos, several types of deer, hare and other animals which would be commonly seen in the jungles have become hard to found these days, according to Panta. He added that the government's efforts against smugglers have been ineffective.
Police chief of Jajarkot DSP Bhavesh Rimal meanwhile stated that the illegal activities are taking place basically in the southern and northern jungles of the district. Security has been beefed up in sensitive zones. However, the illegal activities are going on, he admitted.
“There are very dense jungles in the southern and the northern areas of the district. The animal parts and herbs are sold for very high rates in the international market. Despite our efforts to curb it, there are threats to the animals and plants,” he said. “We have issued high alert in a few sensitive areas,” he added.
Just last week, police had confiscated three kilograms of herbs from Khakhanekot - 8. Few weeks ago, poachers were held in possession of parts of wild animals. “We have been doing our job and being more responsive to sensitive areas. But, the illegal activities are taking place in a massive scale,” he said.
According to a local of Ragda village, which is well known for deer, the sight of deer is not that common these days. “Many deer died in the last few years. Now, it is not easy to spot them around the jungle. It is the same case with the birds,” he said.
District Forest Office informed that 17 types of very precious herbs are found in jungles of Jajarkot. Similarly, red panda and snow leopard which are considered critically endangered species are also home to the jungle. The DFO chief Nepali Shah said that the availability of the precious herbs has indeed made Jajarkot an attractive zone for poachers.