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Tiger poacher arrested


28 August 2008

The background to the story below is that Omprakash was an accused in a case in Himachal Pradesh where two tiger skins were seized by police from Pema Gyatso, of Tibetan origin, on 20 July 2008. The arrest illustrates the successful collaboration between a number of agencies - the forest department of one state (Uttarakhand), police from another state (Himachal Pradesh), the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, and an NGO (WPSI).

Repeat offenders are a serious problem. WPSI's records show that Omprakash was arrested in exactly the same area near Corbett tiger reserve five years ago, in 2003, with a number of tiger traps in his possession. He is believed to have killed as many as three tigers this year.

Belinda Wright
Executive Director, WPSI

Arrested poacher claims he killed Corbett tiger near park

Neha Sinha
Indian Express, Thursday, August 28, 2008 

The arrest of tiger poacher Omprakash Bawariya from Ramnagar in Uttarakhand on Wednesday has revealed the vulnerability of the adjoining forest areas, the poorly patrolled counterparts of the more high-profile Tiger Reserves. Protected forests which don’t come with a celebrity tag may just not be enough to protect India’s tigers.

A joint operation between the Uttarakhand Forest Department, Himachal Pradesh police, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and the Wildlife Protection Society of India led to Bawariya’s arrest who confessed to killing a tiger in Uttarakhand three months ago. Shockingly, the accused was earlier caught in the same area in 2003 with iron traps which are used to lure tigers. Poachers like Omprakash have taken advantage of less guarded forests, say sources, while the same operation would be more difficult within the actual tiger reserve.

The tiger, which sources say originated from Corbett Tiger Reserve, was poached from an adjoining protected forest in the Ramnagar Forest Division, scientifically classified as Corbett landscape but not a part of the Reserve.

Though the National Tiger Conservation Authority has asked for the above mentioned Terai west and Ramnagar areas to be notified as part of the reserve, the Uttarkhand Government has not yet responded to the advisory. Becoming part of the reserve would mean additional protection through the Tiger Protection Force.

Two months ago, officials from the Corbett Reserve had written to the Ramnagar Forest Division warning of the threat to tigers in the area and alleging that one tiger had in all probability been killed. The National Tiger Census conducted by the Wildlife Institute of India had also pegged Kaladungi, near Ramnagar, as a poaching hot spot. But despite the warnings and the old crime record, Omprakash was able to kill more tigers in his demarcated area.

“Omprakash said that he is familiar with each tiger in these forests. As his earlier record goes, he knew where to place the iron traps,” said a Forest Department source.

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