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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Half of forest department staff help tiger poachers: Maneka

PTI | 08:06 PM,Jun 25,2012 New Delhi, Jun 25 (PTI) More than half of the forest department employees are working in connivance with tiger poachers and help them hunt the big cats, former Union Minister Maneka Gandhi alleged here today. Citing "weak" wildlife conservation policies, Gandhi demanded a slew of measures to strengthen the existing Wildlife Act. "60 per cent of the forest department is taking money from poachers and actually pointing out the places where tigers are, helping them poach," Gandhi told reporters on the sidelines of a function here. She was replying to a question on loopholes in tiger conservation programmes run by the Forest and Environment Ministry in wake of recent incidents of poaching. Gandhi pointed to "weak" laws against poachers and lack of initiative on the part of the government to involve NGOs working in this area. "Poacher, when arrested, gets bail in three days. Government does not involve NGOs and they have very low manpower who are extremely corrupt and help poachers," she said. She also demanded stricter laws against wildlife tourism. "At Corbett Park, they should remove all the hotels because they (tourists) go on illegal elephant ride and they pay money to the forest people," Gandhi said. (more)

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