Wednesday, January 09, 2008

CID forest cell looks for MP poacher


CID forest cell looks for MP poacher

Times of India

BANGALORE: He would take a pup deep into the forest, slit its ears and put salt or lime on the wound. Leaving the screaming pup on the ground, he'd take up position to shoot the big cats which would come to prey on the pup.

On one day, in less than 12 hours, wildlife poacher Durra (21) shot six adult leopards using his 'puppy bait'. A special squad of the CID forest cell has been sent to Madhya Pradesh to nab Durra, a Pardhi tribe member staying at Birahuli village in Rithi police limits, for leopard poaching in Haliyal and Dandeli.

The inter-state link came to light after the CID forest cell took over the Haliyal wildlife trade case and interrogated the main accused Prabhakar Keshav Dajakosh. He spilled the beans on the inter-state links among poachers and traders in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra and Gujarat.

Durra is also wanted by the Gujarat and MP police for his involvement in Gir lion poaching, as well as killing tigers and leopards in Madhya Pradesh.

Last month, the state CID forest cell sleuths arrested four people in Haliyal and Old Hubli to recover 43 otter pelts, one tiger pelt and 23 leopard pelts.

"The missing links in the recent recovery of pelts and poaching of big cats across the country will be established once Durra is in police custody. Preliminary investigation revealed the international links in wildlife trade," forest cell IGP K S N Chikkerur said.

It's the first time that otter skins have been recovered in such a large quantity in the state. Otters are largely found at the Cauvery basin and poached for their pelt to make coats in the Himalayan and Tibetan regions.

While tiger and leopard pelts are in great demand, the demand for sloth bear skin and its vital organs has gone up tremendously in the past few years. An otter poached in Karnataka reaches Kashmir and its coat is in great demand in China and Nepal.

"Leopard skins are in great demand. They are often smuggled to Tibet and China through Nepal. An inter-state gang is operating in collusion with international traders and it could wipe out the wildlife here systematically," the officer added.

Fortunately, Karnataka is the only state where the cases in wildlife crime have more than 50% detection rate.

"One cannot rest on statistics. Big cats from South India are preferred by poachers for their unique colour combinations. Tigers or leopards dwelling in south Indian habitats are more beautiful than their counterparts from the deserts or snowy region," explained Chikkerur.

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