UDAIPUR: Udaipur police has busted an inter-state panther poacher-smuggler gang, accused of killing six panthers in the Kumbalgarh forest over the last three years, with the arrest of the mastermind on Monday.
The gang included Hisar-resident Satyawan, an aide to deceased poacher-smuggler Sansar Chand, who was responsible for wiping out tigers from the Sariska reserve. Udaipur police arrested him from Haryana for smuggling the skins of four panthers. Other members of the gang have been identified as Ramesh and Kishan Bhil from Rajsamand.
Earlier last week, police had seized two panthers' skins and arrested four people. Prabhulal and Ganesh Nagda were held with the skin on May 5 while they were looking for buyers in Udaipur. A case has been registered under Section 39, 49-B and 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
Later, the other two people, Shankar Gameti and Jitaram Bhil, were arrested on charges of poaching.
They identified Satyawan as the mastermind of the gang upon their arrest and told police he had taught them the technique to skin panthers.
"This is a big achievement for the police as these poachers were potent danger to wildlife and had killed six panthers for their skins, nails, bones and other body parts," said DSP Gopal Singh Bhati.
Satyawan visited Rajsamand often on the pretext of selling woolen products, where he befriended poor tribal people living near the forest areas and lured them into hunting animals for a meager amount.
"He gave them Rs 3,000- 4,000 and taught them the tricks to trap wild animals when they came to quench thirst at waterholes in the night," said Bhati. Shankar, Jitaram, Ramesh and Kishan had killed four panthers few years back and sold the skin to Satyawan. But due to some misunderstanding, these men parted ways one-and-a-half years ago. Two more panthers were killed by the poachers in past three months and this time they sold the skin to Prabhulal and Ganesh for Rs 50,000 each.