Rudrapur: Foresters and special operations group (SOG) arrested two men from the Khatima forest range in Champawat district during a joint search operation on Sunday and seized a tiger skin and bones from them.
The two arrested accused have been identified as Raju, 28, a resident of Kamalpur village and Mahabir, 45, a resident of Dhaka village of Uttar Pradesh. Divisional forest officer of eastern circle of the Terai forest division, Nitish Mani Tripathi, said, “The joint operation was conducted on a tip-off and we arrested the poachers from the Khatima forest range in Champawat district. A 2.48 meter-long tiger skin and 8.3 kg of tiger bones were recovered from them.”
The DFO added that the tiger’s age is yet to be ascertained. “According to preliminary investigations and statements of the accused, poaching of the tiger took place near a lake in Lakhimpur, some time ago. Later, a butcher from Kakra village in Lakhimpur was called to peel off the skin. Officials of Pilibhit forest in Dudhwa (Uttar Pradesh) were informed and they reached here to interrogate the accused,” he said.
Both the accused have been booked under relevant sections of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and Indian Penal Code.
“We suspect that there are more people involved in this illegal racket and we are also investigating to ascertain who else is involved in the smuggling,” the DFO added.