Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Skins of five Corbett tigers seized, poacher arrested

| TNN |
DEHRADUN: Barely days ahead of the Asian ministerial meet on tiger conservation, the special task force (STF) of Uttarakhand police has seized the skins of five big cats from a gang of poachers whose operation activists have termed "shocking".

Police said the men involved in the killing of the tigers have confirmed to them that the big cats were from the Corbett Tiger Reserve area. The seizure has again brought to the fore the vulnerability of the feline. In 2014, the Indian tiger population was reported to be just 2,226. In a late Sunday night operation, cops stumbled upon what they later referred to as the biggest tiger skin haul in the hill state's history.

The STF also seized tiger skulls, jaws, bones and nails weighing over 125kg and arrested one of the poachers. The black market value of the consignment is estimated to be around Rs 80 lakh to Rs 1 crore. The skins are 10-12 ft in length and 6-7 ft in breadth.

The poacher, Ram Chandra, alias Chandar, told cops he was a member of the notorious Bawaria gang. SSP P Renuka Devi of the STF told TOI, "They had killed the tigers about three to four months ago and hid the skin and bones in the jungle." Devi said the gang placed metal foot traps at locations the big cats frequented.

Once trapped, they beat the cats to death with sticks and rods. After waiting a few months, the gang decided to take the skins to their clients, who had come, according to cops, from Tibet and Nepal. The deal was to be done in Nazibabad in UP's Bijnor district, where the poachers were hiding. However, when Chandar, along with four aides, was on his way to meet the buyers, the police after a tipoff swooped down on them.


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