Wednesday, April 04, 2007

3 detained for poaching lions

Times of India News Network     3-4-2007


GANDHINAGAR: Police on Monday detained a retired forest staffer and two other villagers, probably maldharis, from Babaria range of Gir forest in connection with poaching.


It has taken the killing of five lions, a cub and other wildlife in Gir sanctuary - the only abode of the Asiatic lion in the world - to finally force the Gujarat government to take some action. In the meantime, poachers, who may still be ensconced in Gir forest, have hunted, skinned and deboned five lions last month.


And while additional forces may have been finally deployed at the entry points to the sanctuary, police officials familiar with the region say that the move is likely to be ineffective as the new sentinels of the forest are unfamiliar with the terrain or guarding wildlife.


The last poaching incident was discovered on March 29. The killing took place even though forest and CID (crime) officials had been camping in the forest for at least a fortnight, looking for the accused in the poaching of March 3 in which three lionesses were killed. Despite the row over the March 3 incident, neither the forest officials nor police could prevent the second hunt. On March 29, some more body parts of two lions and bones of a cub were found. Forest officials claim these may have been killed a week before.


A source said: "Senior police officials have been rushed to Gir, along with top forensic officials from Directorate of Forensic Science. They have been camping in Gir since the past two days, but apart from these detentions not much progress has been made yet."


Police is also holding back the identities of the detainees. Sources said that most probably the retired forest staffer may have guided the poachers over Gir's terrain and that one person was detained because he was carrying a large knife inside the sanctuary. These detainees will be put through a lie-detector test to establish their complicity.

Two companies of state reserve police have been deployed at the sanctuary entries.


"But, this move is destined to be ineffective as the SRP personnel have little knowledge of the sanctuary’s topography and more importantly about guarding wildlife," said a senior police investigator.

No comments:

Previous Posts