Bajura, February 8 Police in Bajura have beefed up security in the highlands of the district of late keeping in view the increase in poaching of wild animals. “As there are reports of wild animals being killed illegally in the upper belt, we’ve stepped patrolling there,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police Uddhav Singh Bhat. He also added that patrolling had been intensified in the upper belt of Badimalika Municipality, Budhinanda Municipality, Gaumul and Himali Rural Municipalities of the district. According to Bhat, the patrolling team equipped with sniffer dogs will rescue wildlife at risk amidst snowfall if need be, besides controlling poaching. It has been found that the locals armed with guns, spears and other home-made weapons hunt wild animals that descend to the lowlands to avoid heavy snowfall in the highlands. Bear, wild boar, barking deer, Himalayan ghoral, Himalayan tahr, besides birds such as lophophorus and pheasant are the wildlife that is hunted by the locals during snowfall. “People in groups stay in the forest for a week or two in order to hunt animals that descend to the lowlands during snowfall,” said Laxmiraj Padhya, a local of Martadi. According to Padhya , the hunted animals are then sold in the local market. “In case of the meat of lophophorus and pheasant, it is sold up to 2,000 per kilogram in the local market, while the meat of wild boar and deer cost somewhere between Rs 500 to Rs 1000 per kilogram,” he said. The local governments have so far done nothing to stop the sale of such meat. As per the  law, anyone convicted of hunting protected species of birds and animals is liable to a fine between Rs 50,000 and Rs 100,000 and prison sentence of up to 15 years.