By Express News Service
BHUBANESWAR: The rare and elusive honey badger or Ratel, locally known as ‘Gadabhalu’, has been sighted in Mahal village within Kujang forest range in Jagatsinghpur district on July 6. Forest officials of the Mangrove (Wildlife) division said the honey badger was spotted inside a beetle vine near the village later in the night.
Finding the badger entangled in a wire, locals panicked but later, some youths rescued it. On being freed, the endangered animal immediately escaped into the nearby forest.
Villagers also informed the forest staff about the sighting. PCCF (Wildlife) Shashi Paul said, “The local forest personnel have been engaged in creating awareness for protection of the honey badger. The villagers have been urged not to cause any harm to the animal as it is a small carnivore which feeds on insects, eggs of birds, rodents, snakes and frogs.”
The PCCF said there is a need to spread awareness for conservation of this non-harmful species in the State. Honey badger is very rarely sighted in Odisha though it has been documented in Similipal through camera traps. Besides, the animal has been rarely documented in a coastal district like Jagatsinghpur. Its population density is low in Chilika and the entire coastal region.
The rare species is a schedule 1 animal under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.