Two suspected members of a six-person poaching gang were arrested yesterday after they were found in possession of tiger bones and a large tiger skin in Bijnore district of Uttar Pradesh in India.
According to The Hindu, the two accused were identified only as Das and Rohtas, both from Haryana. Each has been booked under several sections of the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act and applicable sections of the Forest Rights Act.
Police reported as per Das’ statement, that the “six persons had participated in the hunt of the tiger and wrapped up its skin and bones in a polythene before burying it at a “safe” spot.”
A team of UP police Special Task Force carried out the operation that was based on intelligence inputs provided by the anti-poaching unit of Wildlife SOS.
“In a night long daring joint operation by Wildlife SOS & the Special Task Force of the UP Police, two Tiger poachers were arrested with a Tiger pelt and nearly 20 kilos of bones which were seized from their possession in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh,” the animal welfare non-profit that rescues and rehabilitates wildlife in distress noted on its Facebook page. “The two poachers are currently under police custody and the matter is being investigated further.
Police are searching for the other four suspects from the gang, which reportedly operates in UP and Uttarakhand.
As per Wildlife SOS, the recovered tiger skin measures more than 10 feet in length and approximately 6 feet across.
The organization also surmised through logistics that the tiger most likely was poached from the Corbett Tiger Reserve which according to its website, spreads over three districts of Uttarakhand, Pauri, Nainital and Almora.
“Poaching and possession of protected wildlife and illegal trade of body parts is a criminal offense which is non-bailable,” Kartick Satyanarayan, CEO Wildlife SOS and head of its anti-poaching unit, told The Hindu further noting that the information his organization provided authorities had taken several months to gather. “If convicted, the accused could be jailed for up to 7 years. It is essential to have offenders brought to justice to set an example for others to learn.”
Sadly, there are only an estimated 2,230 tigers remaining in India.