CHANDRAPUR: Forest officials of Chimur range busted a major wildlife meat trading racket and nabbed four poachers and seized six kg blue bull meat and two manually loading guns and other equipment used for poaching in the wee hours of Friday in Doma forest beat on the outskirts of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR). Authorities have launched a manhunt for three absconding accomplice of poachers and several other villagers who procured blue bull meat from them.
"Poaching took place during the wee hours of Friday in forest under Doma beat in Chimur range. Accused poachers Diwakar Waghmare and Kisan Shrirame, aided by three others, gunned down the blue bull with the help of manually loading gun. They later skinned and chopped the animal and distributed meat among themselves while hiding the guns in a farm," said ACF Shankar Pandhre.
After the meat was sold to several people in Khapri and Doma villages, Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) got air of poaching and its office-bearers passed the information to forest department. "Following the tip-off from WPSI, we raided village Khapri and nabbed Waghmare and Shrirame. Two kilogram of raw meat and four kg of cooked meat of poached blue bull along with head, legs and remains were seized from the possession of the accused," he said.
Accused Waghmare hails from village Waigaon in Bhandara district. Foresters seized a manually loading gun from his residence while one other gun of similar make from the residence of Shrirame in Khapri. Battery power torch and other tools used in poaching and chopping of animals were also confiscated during the raids.
The accused gave the name of four other accomplices involved in poaching during interrogation. Accordingly, accused Kavdu Nannaware and Lomesh Shende were nabbed from Kawadshi and Hirapur villages while two others are still at large, Pandhre said.
Shrirame and Waghmare are apparently seasoned poachers and might have poached more wild animals in the past. Officials will seek their forest custody remand to check the past history of their poaching.