BHUBANEWAR: The rare and elusive honey badger or Ratel, known locally as “Gadabhalu”, was sighted in Mahal village, Kujang forest, Jagatsinghpur district on July 6. Forestry officials from the Mangrove (Wildlife) Division said the honey badger had been spotted. inside a beetle vine near the village later that night.
Finding the badger entangled in a wire, the locals panicked, but later young people rescued it. Once freed, the endangered animal immediately escaped into the nearby forest.
The villagers also informed the forestry staff of the sighting. PCCF (Wildlife) Shashi Paul said, “Local forestry staff are engaged in raising awareness about honey badger protection. The villagers were urged not to harm the animal as it is a small carnivore that feeds on insects, bird eggs, rodents, snakes and frogs.
The PCCF said there is a need to raise awareness about the conservation of this non-harmful species in the state. The honey badger is very rarely seen in Odisha although it has been documented in Similipal using camera traps. Additionally, the animal has rarely been documented in a coastal district like Jagatsinghpur. Its population density is low in Chilika and throughout the coastal region.
The rare species is a Schedule 1 animal under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.