Poaching racket unearthed in Gir revenue area
Indian Express By Sibte Hussaqin Bukhari
Junagadh, December 14: After the lions, now it's the turn of other wild animals to be hunted along the periphery of the Gir sanctuary. The poaching racket – running rampantly in the revenue area, adjoining Gir forest, and unearthed by the forest officials – was involved in the killing of spotted dear, wild boar, porcupine and the peacock.
"A hunting racket was running in the revenue area – on the outskirts of Aankolwadi village falling under the Aankolwadi range some 25 km from Talala town in Gir West forest division," said B P Pati, deputy conservator of forest (Gir west).
He said the gang was also found involved in illegal wood cutting deep inside the forest. Three persons, including a woman and the owner of the agriculture land, where all poaching activities took place, were arrested in this connection on December 10 and 11, but some eight-nine involved in this crime are still at large.
"During interrogation the accused revealed that some eight-nine people are also involved in this racket. We have carried out raids at different locations but they are still at large. Efforts are on to nab them soon," Pati said.
According to Pati, the three admitted to having killed till date, four deer, two porcupines and one wild boar. "We have recovered spotted deer skin, venison, wild-boar's teeth, traps and material used in electrocuting wild animals, from their possession," he said.
Jayram Akbari, owner of the land said, he along with Rani and Dinu Devipoojak, the other two arrested, killed the animals by electrocuting them. After the kill, the carcass was handed over to the other gang-members. He said most of the people involved in the crime belong to the Devipoojak community and were locals.
Rani and Dinu are also resident of Aankolwadi village. Authorities have recovered peacock feathers from their possession. "We have recovered peacock feathers from them. It is presumed that they have poached the national bird," Pati said, adding that these locals don't have any connection with professional poachers, unlike Madhya Pradesh's tribal gang. "They are not involved in poaching of big cats. It seems that, basically, their aim of killing deer, wild boars, porcupines and peacocks are, to use and sell its meat and for trophy. During the raid conducted on Jayram house at Aankolwadi village, we also recovered some 35 CFT teakwood - worth rupees 35 thousand," said Pati.
The punishment for these offences is imprisonment between three to seven years and fine or both, he added.