Ahmedabad, April 07: In a major breakthrough, authorities at the Gir Forest on Saturday revealed that an inter-state gang of poachers who is responsible for the elimination of tigers in Sariska was behind the Asiatic Lion`s death in Gujarat.
"We have got a major breakthrough in the two poaching incidents (where about six lions were killed in Gir in March)," P N Roychaudary, Principal Secretary Environment and Forests said.
"Police have found the right kind of evidence to establish that it is the same gang of poachers who were responsible for the deaths of tigers in Sariska and other sanctuaries," Roychaudhary said.
"This gang hails from Panti district of Madhya Pradesh and have a notorious record of poaching tigers," he remarked.
"The poachers (who killed the lions in Gir) are from the same group. They are basically tribals called as `Katnis` and are renowned Shikaris (hunters)," Roychoudary said.
Roychaudhary said the poachers have turned their attention to Gir because there was increased scrutiny over the tiger parks in
"Moreover, under pressure from environmentalists the Chinese government has also tightened regulations regarding tiger bones and other body parts that are used in traditional Chinese medicine," he said.
"This has forced them to look for an alternate means," Roychaudhary said adding that the properties of lion bones were similar to those of tigers and could be an alternative in Chinese medicines.
The official, however, did not reveal how the state cid which is investigating the incident establish the crucial links. The cid officials could not be contacted for comment.
Meanwhile, police have detained at least 15 persons, including 12 women, for interrogation in Una Taluka of Junagadh district near the Gir Sanctuary.
According to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who was here at the inauguration of a temple, no arrests have been made in the Gir poaching incidents.
Talking to mediapersons today, Modi said that a Rs. 40 crores action-plan for protection of lions in Gir is being planned by the