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Monday, June 10, 2013

Two tiger poachers nabbed, confess to killing five tigers in Melghat

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Jun 10, 2013, 02.06 AM IST The two, who were nabbed from Mansar, are part of a 30-member gang, which claims to have killed five tigers in the region over the last one month and sold tiger skins to a trader in North India. RELATED Sunderbans has more tigers than official estimateRiver dolphin pair gives birth to calf in HooghlySeven booked for gamblingOne more gambling den busted NAGPUR: The local crime branch (LCB) has nabbed two tiger poachers belonging to the notorious Baheliya community. The two, who were nabbed from Mansar, are part of a 30-member gang, which claims to have killed five tigers in the region over the last one month and sold tiger skins to a trader in North India. The operation to nab the poachers was launched on May 30 based on a tip-off to Nagpur IG from New Delhi. Police nabbed the poachers on June 6 while they were finalizing a deal for a tiger skin. On June 7, the duo were handed over to the forest department, which is further investigating the matter, after obtaining custody of the duo till June 12. The poachers have been taken to Melghat, where the gang reportedly killed the tigers. Crime branch PI RM Pali, who took action under the guidance of rural SP MK Sharma, who is also chief of the district tiger cell, said the dreaded poachers have been identified as Badlu (18) and Chika (20), both hailing from Baheliya stronghold Katni. They are a part of a tiger poaching gang that supplies tiger parts and skins to international syndicates. "The poachers have told us that their gang killed five tigers in Vidarbha region over the last one month, and sold the skins and bones eight days ago. We intercepted the gang on the basis of call details records (CDRs) and Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) inputs. We nabbed them while they were striking a deal for a skin. No skins have been seized from them as yet," said Pali. Forest officials who did want to be quoted said the poachers also confessed to have killed a tiger in Mandla and Tumsar. Only a thorough probe would reveal from where the tigers were killed. Pali said even as the deal was being settled, the poachers smelled a trap. Chika tried to run away by jumping from the four-wheeler. He also jumped into a well to hide, but was pulled out after a dramatic chase by policemen. According to sources, WPSI had first alerted forest officials in December 2012. It had also sounded another alert for police and forest officials in April, but the gang members gave a slip to both police and foresters. On May 30, yet another alarm was raised, and this time police took no chances. Coincidentally, forest officials contacted one of phone numbers that came up during investigations, and it turned out to be that of a poacher. Forest officials also undertook a sting operation but failed. Finally, police nabbed the poachers. WPSI had sounded an alert on May 26 in Melghat. Based on this, officials had nabbed a poacher named Siri in Paratwada. Siri belongs to Baheliya community and is a member of a sister gang of tiger poachers. He is now in the custody of the forest department. The arrest of poachers exposes tall claims of tiger protection by forest officials and also reveals how tigers are still under a threat.

Tiger found dead in Hingna range

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Jun 10, 2013, 02.12 AM IST Villagers poison leopard in South Umred RangeTrain speed to be restricted to 40km/hr in Gondia-Chandrapur sectorEnclosure plea for wild tigerSection 144 to protect straying tigersWild tiger caught in Nandankanan NAGPUR: Even as Nagpur forest division officials are grappling with leopard poisoning case in South Umred, a tiger was found dead in Hingna range on Sunday evening. This is the seventh tiger death in the state since January 2013. The forest staff has failed to learn lessons from the past. Unlike poaching of a full-grown male tiger in Deolapar range that went unnoticed for over a month by the field staff, the carcass of the tiger found on Sunday is suspected to be over 10 days old. However, deputy conservator of forests (DyCF) for Nagpur PK Mahajan ruled out poaching. "All the body parts like nails and skin of the tiger are intact. Prima facie it looks the tiger must have died of old age," Mahajan said. He along with CCF SH Patil had rushed to the spot after learning about the incident. According to Mahajan, the putrefied carcass of a full-grown tiger was found around 4.15pm in reserve forest compartment number 301 in Borgaon beat. The spot is around 47km from Nagpur and 35km from the boundary of Bor Wildlife Sanctuary. According to Mahajan, there appears a crack in a tooth of the tiger. This is an indication of old age, he said adding that 40% of the skin has decomposed. The post mortem and other formalities like panchnama will be completed on Monday morning in the presence of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and chief wildlife warden's representatives. When sought to know about the delay in detecting the carcass, Mahajan admitted laxity on part of beat guard and van majoor, who could have easily discovered the tiger. "Both will face suspension," Mahajan said. On Saturday, beat guard and van majoor were suspended for negligence in poisoning of leopard in South Umred range. Earlier, in Deolapar tiger poaching case, forest guard and van majoor were suspended. However, no accountability has been fixed against range forest officers (RFOs) who are equally responsible for such incidents.