By Vijay Pinjarkar
The poaching saga is getting murkier. It was not just the wildcat on which culprits lay their hands on, a bear also got caught in the metal traps laid for tigers in Ghatang area close to Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR) last month.
"A sloth bear, which was not the prime target, first got caught in the metal trap followed by a tiger. The bear's carcass was disposed of and when the tiger was caught, poachers skinned it and decamped with skin and body parts," senior wildlife wing officials told TOI on Tuesday.
TOI on June 10 was first to expose the poaching racket in the region, perhaps going on for a long time. Two poachers - Badlu and Chika - were caught by local crime branch (LCB) on June 6 from Mansar.
The two, part of the 30-member tiger poachers gang belonging to notorious Baheliya community from Katni, confessed to have killed five tigers in the region during the last one month and sold tiger skins to a trader in North India.
Police have handed over the culprits to the forest department who took the duo to Melghat for further investigations. The accused will be produced before a local court in Nagpur on Wednesday to extend their custody.
Badlu and Chika were taken to the spot in Ghatang on Monday where they had killed a tiger. "We have recovered a metal trap, hair, pieces of bone and meat from the spot. The material will be sent for forensic tests to Centre for Cellular Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad. Still more recovery and investigations are required to be done," officials said. More....