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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Suspected poachers' gang intrudes into Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve

Mazhar Ali, TNN | Jun 5, 2012, 02.12AM IST CHANDRAPUR: Search operations have been stepped up in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) after a gang of suspected poachers intruded into tiger reserve on Sunday night. Three forest labourers posted at Wamangaon protection hut saw the gang but couldn't take them on fearing for their life. Immediately a high alert was sounded in the reserve and buffer area. Since the Gondmohadi poaching incident the TATR and all tiger bearing territories in Chandrapur are on high alert. Everybody on patrol in and around TATR were alerted on Sunday night and all patrolling vehicles in TATR and buffer areas along Palasgaon and Chimur range were diverted to Alizanja area of the reserve to look for the gang which entered the reserve from Wamangaon side during midnight, sources said. Speaking to TOI, field director and CCF, TATR, Virendra Tiwari confirmed the intrusion of unknown people into TATR on Sunday night. "A gang was sighted by van majoors (forest labourers) posted at Wamangaon protection hut. They were eight in number and clad in black dress. The labourers immediately intimated the higher officers," he said. "We are not sure about the motive of their intrusion. It could be a gang of thieves that had moved into jungle for shelter. But, possibility of it being a poachers gang is also not ruled out. We are taking no chances. Intense foot patrolling has also been ordered inside the jungle," said Tiwari. Other officials in forest department claimed that there were three forest labourers at protection hut, while number of intruders was eight. The labourers feared to take on the gang which fled towards Alizanja jungle of Tadoba. Monday was full moon night. Seasoned poachers prefer full moon nights for poaching as visibility is at the highest. No trace of the gang was found till late in the evening. Gondmohadi case: Gothiya couple's hand ruled out Forest officials investigating into Gondmohadi tiger poaching have ruled out the possibility of involvement of poacher family arrested in Chimur in the case. Four poachers including Punnalal Gothiya, his wife and two juvenile sons were arrested with two tortoises a few days back. A team of forest officers from Palasgaon range interrogated the Gothiya couple, who have been remanded to forest custody, and concluded that they have no involvement in Gondmohadi poaching. "We have also checked the call details of Gothiya with the calls that passed from Palasgaon mobile telephone tower. Gothiya's phone number has no mention in telephone record of Palasgaon telephone tower available with us," said a senior officer investigating the Gondmohadi case. Two tigers were poached in Gondmohadi jungle on April 26 and forest department has obtained the phone records from April 25 to 27 that transpired through Palasgaon telephone tower. Investigators suspect that those involved in poaching must have called from their phone from Gondmohadi to their mentors to inform that their bid on tigers failed. Accused Gothiyas have given the address of their village which is near Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. The forest officials have forwarded their photographs to the DCF in MP to check the record of Gothiyas. Two round officers, 17 guards transferred The TATR management has transferred two round officers and 17 forest guards to rejuvenate protection in reserve. Out of 17 guards, eight have been transferred to Chandrapur forest circle. Remaining nine guards have been shuffled from their present posts to some other place in the reserve. Decision came in wake of suspension of two forest guards from Tadoba range who were found involved in tree felling. Field director Virendra Tiwari confirmed of the transfers.

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