By Mazhar Ali
CHANDRAPUR: Forest officials on Monday busted a case of tiger poaching carried out inside the buffer zone of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR). Officials of buffer and territorial forest nabbed a gang of tiger poachers in intelligence-based raids in Mul town and Bhadurna village inside the buffer zone. Five tiger nails and two canines along with some whiskers and handful of disposed of bones of a poached tigress were recovered during the daylong raids.
"The tigress was poached in compartment no. 485 in protected forest of Mul range around six months back, before Diwali last year. The poachers had laid electrified wire for herbivores, but a full-grown tigress got trapped in it and died. The poachers removed all 18 nails, four canines and whiskers from the body and hacked the animal into pieces. The body parts were later burned at the same spot and unburnt remains were buried in the sandy bed of Uma river," said ACF VW Morey, who was part of the investigating team.
The poaching came to light after officials got a tip-off from Umeshsing Jhire of Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI). Jhire informed the officials about one Dilip Madavi who was willing to sell the tiger nails and canines. Madavi, who hails from Bhadurna village, was then lured with a handsome offer for tiger nails and canines and summoned with the booty to Mul.
"As soon as he stepped out of the MSRTC bus on Mul bus stop, he was nabbed by sleuths led by RFO AM Pathan and forester Vinod Jambhule. Madavi was then taken to Mul range office, where, during interrogation, he revealed the names of his accomplices. Two more accused Ramprasad Gurnule and Vinayak Mallerwar was arrested Bhadurna village later in the afternoon," Morey said.
Investigators took the accused trio to the place of poaching to re-create the crime scene. They were also taken to place in Uma river where they had buried the remains of poached tigress. The unburnt remains, buried into the sandy bed by poachers, were retrieved on their identification.
"We have so far recovered only five nails and two canines of the tigress. The accused have claimed selling off the remaining nails and canines to five people. We have got their names and addresses and they will be arrested soon," said deputy director, TATR (buffer), Gajendra Narwane. Raids were underway till late in the night to round up the customers who had purchased the tiger parts.