Tigress, cub poached in M.P. forest

The Hindu , Sunday, December 19, 2004
Correspondent : Lalit Shastri
BHOPAL, DEC. 18. Poachers continue to strike at will in Madhya Pradesh and the latest case of poaching has been detected in Seoni district where the carcass of a tigress and her cub were found lying just outside the Pench National Park on Friday.

When State Tiger Cell sources were contacted here, they told The Hindu that the tigress whose carcass was found outside the Pench National park on Friday had been poisoned two or three days ago. They said that the tigress and her cub had been skinned and their flesh had been left behind. One person belonging to the Pardi tribe had been rounded up for interrogation and further investigations were on.

The latest tiger poaching incident is a pointer that the local contacts, who are mainly tribals carry out the real killings. They are in turn linked to international gangs having contacts in Nepal and China.

During a short period in May-June this year, the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) had pointed out that 10 tiger skins, 25 leopard skins, large quantity of tiger bones, and claws of over three dozen tigers and leopards were seized in about a dozen cases in India and Nepal.

These seizures also included the one conducted on June 23, 2004 in Madhya Pradesh, the home for the largest tiger population in the country, in which seven leopard skins were seized at a remote place near Shahdol. This was followed by another seizure conducted by the Special task Force of the State Police in which a tiger skin was seized and three men were arrested from the Habibganj railway station in the State Capital.

The string of seizures across several States in India and Nepal came close on the heels of the largest single seizure of endangered animal products that were being smuggled into the mountainous Ngamring county in Tibet from across the Nepal border in October 2003.

It has been the contention of WPSI that the large number of seizures earlier this year was due to sudden spurt in poaching to meet the gap in demand and supply due to the huge October 2003 seizure. When State forest department officials were contacted, they said that the international racket engaged in the large-scale smuggling of tiger and leopard skins and body parts from Nepal to China were getting a large part of their supply from Madhya Pradesh. They do not rule out the involvement of some major international gang in the latest poaching incident near the Pench National Park. Keeping in view the massive global racket of poaching, the Madhya Pradesh Government is thinking in terms of expanding the mandate of the State Tiger Cell. There is also a proposal to rename this Cell as "Forest Crime and Tiger Cell", which would cover wildlife poaching as well as encroachment and mining related crimes.

SOURCE : The Hindu, Sunday, December 19, 2004

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