Poachers held in Bhopal, animal skins seized

INDO ASIAN NEWS SERVICE, AUGUST 25, 2006
Bhopal, Aug 25 (IANS) Four poachers have been arrested here and a tiger and panther skin seized from them, a senior official said.
The arrests followed a tip off to wildlife department officials that some people were trying to strike a deal to sell the animal skins to traders in Maharashtra, said H.S. Pabla, additional principal chief conservator of forests.
‘The officials laid a trap by posing as traders and struck a deal with three poachers,’ he said.
Pabla said once the deal was struck, the poachers brought the skins and were caught.
‘Further investigations revealed that all three – Durgesh, Kamlesh and Nandlal – belonged to Betul district. A person, Jawan Singh, who is also involved in the trade, was arrested from Dadukheda village in Betul district,’ Pabla said.
A case has been registered against the four under various sections of the wildlife act. The four confessed to have sold the skins of many big cats in the past to traders in Maharashtra’s Dharmi area.
In 1994, a resident of Betul district had admitted to killing 30 big cats – tigers and panthers – in a span of two years. The police also recovered trapping equipment like iron snares and electric wires from his possession.
The remains of 28 tigers were recovered from 12 districts of the state between 1998 and 2004, though, as one official said: ‘The latest figures are yet to be compiled.’
Madhya Pradesh has 712 tigers, spread across nine national parks and 25 wildlife sanctuaries.
‘It is home to the largest tiger population in the country but it is also a poachers’ paradise,’ said an official of the Wildlife Protection Society of India.

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