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24 Dec 2016

Forest to step up vigil after elephie

TT, Jalpaiguri, Dec. 23: Forest officers today said they would intensify vigil on roads that pass through the fringes of the reserve forests in north Bengal and monitor movement of tourist vehicles with CCTV cameras.
The decision was taken a day after a group of tourists from Nadia had spotted a wild tusker while moving through the Lataguri-Chalsa stretch of NH31 near Gorumara and clicked selfie with the animal in the backdrop. The tourists who were in a hired car got off the vehicle and were near the elephant for about 30 minutes.
"There are display boards at the ticket counter in the Nature Interpretation Centre (NIC) at Lataguri which explain the dos and don'ts for toursists while travelling in the forest. Even after such alerts, it is disappointing that some tourist flout rules," Sumita Ghatak, conservator of forests (wildlife, north Bengal), said.
She said CCTVs had been set up at the NIC. "We will install CCTV cameras in some other locations in and around Gorumara National Park and Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary. Our staff would watch the live footage," Ghatak said.
If vehicles are found getting delayed in the forest, guards who patrol on foot and motorcycles would be informed.
Sources said CCTVs would be installed on both sides of NH31, including the 10km Lataguri-Gorumara Gate stretch that has dense forest on both sides of the road. Elephants often pass through the area.
"A meeting of the state wildlife advisory board would be held soon and we intend to come up with proposals to ensure that visitors enjoy their trips and animals do not face any inconvenience because of them," a forester said.
Sources said more guards would be deployed for patrolling and more awareness drives would be taken up.

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