By Joseph Hoover
Even as the Supreme Court's order to ban tourism in core areas of tiger reserves is being hailed by wildlife conservationists, disconcerting news trickles down from Madumalai and Bandipur tiger reserves that hard-core poachers are still at large in the forests of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Close on the heels of ten notorious poachers being arrested from the BR Temple tiger reserve, a poacher was arrested deep inside the Madumalai tiger reserve (Tamil Nadu) on Monday. The anti-poaching camp stumbled upon the accused (Rohith Singh) in the core area between Masinagudi and Sirgur ranges, some 20 km from Kodanadu, where Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalitha is staying presently.
"Our ATC found him with snares and knives inside the core area, which is nearly 15km away from any human habitation. Rohith (25) is from Marwal Chatra district which is on the Chhattisgarh and Bihar border. We have started combing operations and are hopeful of making more arrests," said a forest official from Tamil Nadu.
There is reason to be worried as one poacher had been arrested in the Muthanga wildlife sanctuary, near the tri-junction (where the borders of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala intersect) last week. Two more poachers were arrested near the Moolehole Range (Bandipur tiger reserve) around the same time.
"We apprehended a person near the tri-junction. Except for an identity card, which indicated he is native of Oddisha, he wasn't carrying any equipment. We interrogated him and sent him to jail," said V V Sunil, Deputy Conservator of Forests (Muthanga Wildlife sanctuary). More....