Deer poaching and hunting in the Sundarbans under Satkhira range have increased in an alarming rate as poachers have become desperate, bringing a new threat to this vegetarian animal.
Although deer in the Sundarbans have got a relief from the attacks of tigers and pirates, these days they fall victims to traps and shooting by hunters.
In the current month, Forest Department and members of Bangladesh Coast Guard in their separate drives arrested two poachers and recovered three dead deer, three one-barrel pistols and a boat. However, their 'godfathers' remain out of touch.
According to the Forest Department information, the activities of forest robbers have decreased but the deer poaching gangs have become more desperate in the Sundarbans and its adjacent areas.
Venison is regularly sold in the villages of Munshiganj, Koikhali, Bhetkhali, Jatindranagar and Moragang unions under Shyamnagar upazila, and the trend is growing day by day.
However, the Forest Department claimed that their drive against the deer poaching and hunting is on.
Locals said people do not hesitate to buy venison at Tk 500 to Tk 600 per kg as many like it.
Although the authorities have a list of deer hunters and meat traders, the administration does not take any action against them, allege locals.
There are allegations that poachers are doing their business managing a section of staff both at the Forest Department and the local administration.
A source wishing anonymity said a local millionaire and shrimp trader, who is known as the godfather of the deer hunters, often goes out for deer hunting in the Sundarbans by his own trawler.
Even he takes all the responsibilities if any deer hunter is arrested, claimed locals.
On July 9, a hunter-gang went in Chunkuri area of the Sundarbans for hunting deer. A sub-inspector and several constables of Shyamnagar police station were with them, claimed the locals.
After the incident spread in the social media, a case was filed with Shyamnagar Police Station accusing six people, including Sattar Morol.
Rafiq Ahmed, a forest officer at Satkhira Range, said that no one of forest department takes bribe. "If any evidence is found, stern action will be taken against them," he added.
"Security measures have been strengthened by increasing patrol in the area," said the forest official adding, "We've recovered three dead deer and arrested two hunters."
Syed Mannan Ali, officer-in-charge of Shyamnagar Police station, said their drives against forest robbers and poachers will continue.
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