By Monotosh Chakraborty
Three deer poachers were arrested from the Sunderbans on Saturday. Foresters also rescued an injured deer from the spot, a creek close to the Thakuran river under Ramganga range. But, the deer later died.
The accused - Manoranjan Baidya (50), Ananda Gayen (50) and Banshi Haldar (40) - are believed to be hard-core poachers.
The forest guards led by beat officer Babu Das were patrolling Thakuran river near the Kalas island, when they suddenly spotted suspicious movement in a creek. The guards asked the trio to stop, but they took their fishing boat deep inside the forest. Seeing the guards chasing them, the trio jumped in the river. The foresters also plunged into the river and got hold of them. Deer traps and sticks were recovered from them.
"The guards found an injured deer on their boat. The deer was rushed to Pathar Pratima for treatment, but it died on the way. We are checking whether the three have poaching antecedents," said DFO, South 24-Parganas forest division, Lipika Roy. The deer's body has been sent for post-mortem. "The report can ascertain the cause of death. The accused will be produced before the court on Sunday," an official said.
In February this year, the foresters recovered 55 deer traps and arrested four from different parts of the mangroves for their alleged involvement in poaching rackets. Carcass of a deer was also recovered during one of the raids then.
The deer later succumbed to his injuries. The poacher racket was busted during the regular patrolling by the Ramganga range of South 24 Parganas division of forest department. Three accused in their 40s and 50s are suspected to be hard-core poachers as they used to enter the forest in the name fishing.
The forest department would like to take them into their custody under the wild life act to probe the poaching trail which might lead to busting of a bigger racket, said an officer.