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Bagaha: Flora and fauna in the forests spread over 880 sq.km and better known as Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) in West Champaran distict are facing threat from poachers and timber smugglers despite regular patrolling in the area and presence of check posts.

The poachers and timber smugglers sneak into the forest area cut trees and kill the birds and animals, said local sources adding they also collect animal skin and manage to smuggle them out of forests to sale them in international market. A leader of Bhartiya Tharu organization Gyaneshwar Mahto said that illegal felling of trees in the forest area is an open secret.

Another Tharu leader Hemraj Patwari said that stripping the Valmiki tiger reserve of its forests cover by timber  smugglers allegedly in connivance with some forest personnel was going on in the area. In Madanpur forests range  matured trees of Khair , Seesam, Semal are hardly seen now, he alleged adding that once known for its thickest forest in the state, the forest was now faceing threat of losing its lush green forest cover. Shusil Sashank, who runs an NGO `Deep’ said deforestation and poaching can’t be ruled out till Village Forest Right Committee Act,2012, is implemented strictly in the area.

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