By R. Krishna Kumar
‘Those held on Sunday could be part of a wider network’
Anti-poaching camps at Bandipur have stepped up their vigil inside the national park following the arrest of 10 people from near the BRT Wildlife Sanctuary on Sunday.
Those held for poaching are from Madhya Pradesh. Wildlife activists suspect that they could be part of a wider network that may have spread its dragnet in the south, as similar gangs from Katni and Satna, also in Madhya Pradesh, were nabbed a few years ago from Nagarahole.
All 46 anti-poaching camps operating inside Bandipur are on high alert. The area under each camp’s jurisdiction is being combed to ascertain if there are snares or other traps for wild animals.
Conservator of Forests H.C. Kantharaj, who is also the Director of Bandipur Tiger Reserve, told The Hindu that instructions were issued to Range Officers and other field staff to ascertain the presence of nomadic communities or those living in tents close to the forests, and question them.
A gang of tribal people from Odisha were found camping in the border village of Hangala last month. Forest Department officials seized monitor lizards and other animals that were trapped by them.
“We took them into custody and registered cases for violating the Wildlife Protection Act as they were found to be in possession of wildlife derivatives,” Mr. Kantharaj said.
Tiger claws and whiskers were seized from those nabbed from R.S. Doddi, which is close to the BRT Wildlife Sanctuary. Even if they are small-time gangs, they could be the first line of operators in the complex multilayer network of poachers and their clients in the illegal trade of wildlife derivatives, according to officials. More....