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Monday, May 21, 2012

Poachers chop tiger into pieces in Maharashtra

Mazhar Ali, TNN May 19, 2012, 12.10AM IST CHANDRAPUR: Poachers have struck again in Maharashtra's tiger reserves despite a red alert about possible strikes by Baheliya gangs from neighbouring Madhya Pradesh. A mutilated carcass of a tiger was found in the Chandrapur forest range on Friday. The big cat was chopped into 10 pieces and its remains strewn along the Chichpalli-Borda road. The Maharashtra government had sounded an alert after intelligence inputs suggested that Rs 40 lakh had been paid to poachers to snuff out 25 tigers in the region. Forest officials had heightened vigil and declared Rs 1-lakh reward for clues. But poachers managed to punch holes in the security ring around the Chandrapur forests. This is the second killing of a tiger in two months. The Chandrapur forest has lost six tigers this year - five were either poached or killed accidentally and the sixth got maimed in an iron jaw trap. Investigators say the tiger was electrocuted by poachers deep inside the forest. Later, its carcass was cut into pieces, stuffed into a gunny bag and transported in a four-wheeler to the Borda forest. The remains were then scattered near the road. A forest guard found the remains a few metres off the road. Forest officials rushed to the spot, cordoned off the area and sniffer dogs were pressed into service. It was a full-grown male tiger. "Burn injuries on a limb suggest it may have been electrocuted. Its head and paws were slashed and the body chopped," said range forest officer, Badkelwar. Tyre marks of a vehicle making U-turn around 20 metres from the spot have been detected. The tiger may have been killed on Thursday night, said an official. Surprisingly, the tiger was not stripped of its skin, which sells for over Rs 1 crore in the international market. Other body parts like nails, hair and bones are pegged at over Rs 6 lakh. The Baheliya gang is known for poaching tigers with metal traps. Experts say members of this community simultaneously operate at multiple locations and are ruthless in their approach. The tiger's remains have been sent for autopsy.

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