Bhubaneswar: At least 36 persons, mostly local tribals, were arrested for hunting animals in Odisha`s famed Simlipal National Park, one of India`s first Project Tiger reserves, an official said on Saturday.
About 23 country-made guns and half a quintal of raw sambar meat were seized from them, Anup Nayak, field director of the tiger reserve said.
About one thousand people from 10-12 villages of the nearby areas had sneaked into the national park Feb 20 for mass hunting of animals.
Wildlife and forest officials had confronted them a number of times during the past four days. While many of the villagers returned, several others were still hunting the animals inside the park, said Nayak.
A team of about 100 forest, wild life and ex-Army personnel launched a joint operation on Friday and managed to arrest 36 of them, he said.
Efforts are on to nab others who are still present inside the forest, Nayak added.
Located some 320 km from here, Simlipal is home to many Royal Bengal Tigers and elephants. It is the biggest reserve forest block of India with an area of 2271.78 square kilometers.
Similipal is also a prominent biosphere reserve, wild life sanctuary, and elephant reserve.