Widespread Tiger Poaching In M.P. And Maharashtra
Reports of the poaching of five to twelve tigers in the Pench and Melghat Tiger Reserves have led the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to seek information from the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF). The NTCA may request a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe.
Reports of organized poaching are coming in from both Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, leading to NTCA concerns about significant levels of criminal activity, and calls for an investigation by the CBI.
Acting PCCF and Chief Wildlife Warden V.K. Sinha reported speaking to NTCA Member-Secretary Rajesh Gopal and other officials by phone. He said that the poaching reports are under investigation by his office, but would not confirm details. An initial report by his office to the NTCA provides details about poachers’ confessions to the killing of five tigers, and the sale of skins to traders.
Kishor Rithe, a member of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has said that the NTCA should accept moral responsibility for the poaching incidents, because is it one of the parties to tripartite agreements signed by tiger reserves and state governments. Mr. Rithe said, “I had put the issue of poaching on the NBWL agenda in a meeting in Delhi on June 6, but when the matter came up for discussion, the NTCA member-secretary had already left, indicating how serious he was about the issue.”
On June 6, the local crime branch in Nagpur reported seizing two poachers from Mansar who admitted to killing five tigers in the Melghat Reserve over the past month, and selling tiger skins to a trader in North India. The poachers are part of a large gang that supplies tiger parts and skins to international syndicates. The Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) has been alerting forest officials about this gang’s operations since December 2012. A third poacher has also been seized, and all three are currently in custody. Officials are seeking to try the poachers in Amravati, where the crimes occurred.
For more details about tiger poaching and the wildlife crime nexus in India:
Author: Jennifer Scarlott, Source: Times of India, Wildlife Protection Society of India.