Mangaluru, Oct 11, 2017: Five trekkers from Mangaluru claimed that they came across 30 people, armed with guns and sickles, in the Western Ghats over the week end.
A team of nature lovers from Mangaluru got a shock when they were trekking on the foothils of Western Ghats near Mudigere. They encountered around 35 men, with country made guns and sickles, roaming near reserve forest at Ombathugudda at Kottigehara to hunt animals, despite rules ban it.
Narrating his experience, Dinesh Holla, coordinator of Mangaluru-based Sahyadri Sanchaya, told TOI that his team was threatened by the hunters when they questioned the group why they were roaming in the forest with weapons.
"They were very arrogant and they threatened us too. Since we were a group of only five, we could not do anything except watch as mute spectators. One of the group’s members boasted that they hunt stag and wild boars. When I reminded them about the ban on hunting, they took it very lightly saying that they are very influential. We quickly left the place to avoid serious problems, fearing our safety." Holla said, adding that he called a known forest guard and also an officer after coming out of the forest area to inform about the hunters.
"I called the forest department officials over phone and explained what we saw inside the forest. I have also brought it to the notice of forest minister B Ramanath Rai," Holla said, adding that the authorities must curb such incidents and act sternly against hunters.
Dayananda K A, another member of Sahyadri Sanchaya, said the hunters’ group appeared to be well prepared for hunting. "Initially, one of the group members lied that they were grazing cattle. However, our suspicion grew when we saw guns and sickles with them. Later, one of them told us that they were hunting," he added.