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Is Corbett turning into poachers’ den?

 


Seema Sharma 
Times of India, TNN | Mar 14, 2016,

DEHRADUN: The revelations by an arrested member of the Bawaria gang has raised serious questions about the safety of tigers in and around Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR).

The gang would travel barely 15km from Kotkhadar in Bijnor to Sona Nadi Wildlife Sanctuary in CTR for tiger hunt. Once there, the gang would set up traps to catch the animal and would eventually kill it to remove its skin and bones. On Monday, Uttarakhand Police's special task force seized the skins of five big cats from Haridwar forest division and arrested one of the poachers belonging to Bawaria gang. Officials said that the team also recovered tiger skulls, jaws, bones and nails weighing over 125kg.

"The accused took forest and police officials to Kotkhadar in Uttar Pradesh's Bijnor district from where the five tiger skins and bones were recovered. The incident is bound to embarrass us in front of the entire world as CTR is a reserve with highest tiger density in the world," said a forest department official.

Meanwhile, CTR director Samir Sinha told TOI, "The seizure of five tiger skins and body parts is quite saddening. We are trying for a three-day remand of the accused so that he can take us to the exact locations where tigers were killed. It will be inappropriate to comment any further."

The cases of poaching have been on the rise in Uttarakhand. About two months ago, seven leopard skins were seized from Pauri district. "I will investigate into the matter and find out how many tigers have been killed in Uttarakhand. It is quite unfortunate and I am not going to take this issue lightly," said DVS Khati, principal chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden of the state.

Tito Joseph, program manager of Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), the NGO which provided intelligence to the police and forest official about these poachers, said, "The state forest department has to play a proactive role and train its staff in dealing with poachers.


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TIGER DEATHS IN 2017
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 Poaching &             
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 Poaching &            138
 Seizures             
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       Total                   365



LEOPARD DEATHS IN 2016
 Mortality                 282
 Poaching &             154
 Seizures             
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