Forest dept officials nab duo for smuggling rare species of palm

Forest dept officials nab duo for smuggling rare species of palm

Submitted by alvin on Fri, 2016-05-20 10:56 Bengaluru: The State Forest Department has seized rare rattans, worth lakhs of rupees, being smuggled from the Kali tiger reserve on Karnataka-Goa border area.The seizure was made a couple of days ago when the forest department personnel intercepted a person named Santosh Narayan Velip, who was transporting huge quantity of cane at Diggi village near Khanapur in Kumabrawada wildlife range. Another person Mani Thakkur Lambori, a native of Kullem village in Goa, has also been arrested.  According to forest department sources, the accused, also from Diggi village, was transporting 6500 canes of length of 1.3metres and 2025 canes with a length of 3.8 metres. “This is a first. There has been no report of illegal cane harvesting and smuggling earlier,” said an official source on condition of anonymity.Following a tip-off, CCF Srinivasalu Krishnamurthy, Chief Conservator of Forest and Director, Kali Tiger Reserve directed the staff to apprehend the duo for cane smuggling. The forest staff ACF Ashok Gonde, Kumbarwada wildlife subdivision and Satish Pujar, RFO Kumabarwada wildlife range, acted upon it and arrested the duo. Though the value of product is not known, officials estimate that it could be worth several lakhs of rupees. A vehicle has also been seized.Rattan belongs to the palm family (Arecales or Palmea) and is found from sea level up to 3,000 m. There are over 600 species of rattan across the globe.  Rattan in India and KarnatakaIndia is one among the countries where rattan grows in the wilderness. Karnataka tops in rattan species in South India. The Kumaraparvatha and some other region have endemic species of rattans, called naga betta or snake rattan because of its curvy shape ( Scientific name: Nagabettai,). Interestingly, it is found in the forests near the holy town of Kukkesubramanya (as per A C Lakshmana, former Conservator of Forest and an expert on rattan). Rattan is found in the State from Karwar to Kodagu and inland from Belgaum to Chamarajanagar districts. In Kodagu alone, Lakshmana has identified nine species of rattans.Why the demand?Being a lighter product than wood, rattan or cane is used for various purposes like furniture, handicraft, and as building material. Some of species are considered sacred based on the location where they grow, such as Nagabetta. Rattans in Karnataka are considered as indicators of pristine Western Ghats as they thrive near water bodies and prefer shade of dense large trees.