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Tribal poaching nexus robbing Uttarakhand’s forests of riches

 


February 17, 2011 Paritosh Kimothi | Dehradun

Leopard pelts, big cat bones, ivory and firearms were seized from six wildlife poachers arrested in an operation conducted jointly by Uttarakhand forest department officials with police.

According to the Uttarakhand Forest and Environment Advisory Committee vice-chairman Anil Baluni, these poachers were active in Corbett and Rajaji national parks. One of them confessed to supplying one tiger skin and bones of three tigers to a man in Dharchula during the previous year. Wildlife activists said the arrests point to unabated poaching activity in the two national park territories. According to Baluni, based on Intelligence reports, the State authorities have been monitoring the movements of these men for the past two months.

The arrested include Balku Bawaria, Gami Gujjar, Ali Jaan and Ramesh, who are habitual offenders. They live in villages near the national park territories. Gujjar, who passed the tiger skin and bones of the big cat to a man in Dharchula, hails from a village in Kalagarh Tiger Reserve. The authorities are now interrogating the men and hope to uncover a nationwide nexus of wildlife poachers and smugglers based on the extracted information. The information will also be provided to the National Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Baluni said.

 

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