MP gang admits to killing 2 lions

The Indian Express , Monday, April 16, 2007

RAJKOT/JUNAGADH, APRIL 15 : Remains of Asiatic lions were found buried in the forests near Bhandaria village in Bhavnagar district, over 100 km from Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, on Saturday. Seven persons, who were arrested by the district police on Friday, have confessed to killing the two lions, whose remains were found. All seven arrested are part of a Madhya Pradesh tribal gang.

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Bhavnagar Superintendent of Police Harikrishna Patel said: “This gang has confessed to killing two lions that were found near Bhandariya village on Jesar-Palitana road in the district. After interrogation, they led us to the place where they set traps for lions and then to the place where the carcasses were unearthed,” Patel said. “This gang hails from Katni district of Madhya Pradesh and is very similar to the gang that probably poached other lions in Junagadh district,” Patel added.

“We received specific inputs from CID (Crime) to watch out for tribal gangs. The gang was arrested from Bhavnagar railway station on April 12 and is on seven days’ remand. We have recovered clothes smeared with blood. The tribals had also offered lion’s blood to their deity and an idol wrapped with cloth was also recovered,” said the SP.

However, the police are yet to recover lion claws, bones and skin, since the gang has not yet revealed where they are hidden. This is the third reported incident of poaching here and has jolted the Forest Department and State Administration as poachers seem to be striking at will. Since March 1, when the first poaching incident came to light in Babariya range, eight lions have been lost.

SOURCE : The Indian Express, Monday, April 16, 2007

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