Monday, June 17, 2013

Poachers slay two blackbucks

Poachers slay two blackbucks

Carcasses recovered, poachers escape; cops say animals killed near Barwala.

The carcasses of two blackbucks were recovered from two suspected poachers astride a motorcycle in Barwala taluka on Thursday morning, giving rise to suspicion that the animals could have been poached from, or in and around, the Velavadar Blackbuck Sanctuary nearby.

According to Barwala police sub-inspector CA Parmar, the two carcasses were found during a routine check. "Around 10.30 am, we were carrying out routine checking on the road connecting Chanchariya and Refda village of the taluka, when two men on a bike, who were about to be checked, turned away and escaped," said Parmar. Soon, a chase ensued and a gunny sack the men were carrying slipped and fell in a puddle near Chanchariya bus stand.

"The two men escaped leaving behind the gunny sack and the bike which had an Ahmedabad registration number," Parmar said. On opening the bag, the cops found the carcasses of a male and female blackbuck inside. Police also recovered a crude pistol from the spot where the men had dropped their booty in a bid to escape.

Cops believe that the animals may have been poached either from the Velavadar Sanctuary or its surrounding area. Sources said further investigation revealed the bike had been stolen. While the police insisted that the two were caught in the morning, a forest official, whom dna spoke to, said that the two were apprehended at 1 am. Another theory doing the rounds is that the villagers near the sanctuary had constantly been complaining of poaching and the police laid a trap for the two, but changed its story after the two escaped.

The police however rubbished the talk as rumours.

Meanwhile, chief wildlife warden CN Pandey acknowledged the incident saying, "Yes, we are aware and the matter is being investigated by police. We are condifent of finding those responsible. Poaching could not have taken place inside the sanctuary, and blackbucks are also found in the area around it. The details will only be clear once the two men are apprehended.

A wildlife activist who has closely studied blackbucks said that poaching of the animal is prevalent. "This due to the fact that a large number of the species roams outside the sanctuary area, where it is difficult to protect them. There are certain communities that feast on the animal as well," he said.  According to the activist, many of the killings are retaliatory in nature. Blackbucks cause damage to standing crop and farmers in the area retaliate by killing the animal.

"But this may not be the case in Velavadar, where there is enough fodder," he said. It should be noted that three men were nabbed by the forest department for killing a blackbuck in June 2011.

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