A seven-member gang of hunters were intercepted and arrested by an anti-poaching squad on Siruvani Main Road in Boluvampatti forest range early Wednesday morning. Officials recovered two spotted deer carcasses along with a .22 air rifle suspected to have been used to kill the animals. All seven of them are engaged in alternate forms of employment in Coimbatore and had reportedly gone to the forest for a brief sport hunting trip. They were on their way back when they were intercepted and taken into custody. Three vehicles used by the accused were also seized in the operation.
"Our anti-poaching squad was on regular night and early morning patrol in the area when they spotted three vehicles on Siruvani Main Road at around 5am. We intercepted them and did a vehicle check when we found the spotted deer carcasses," said C Dhineshkumar, forest ranger, Boluvampatti range.
The hunters have been identified as B Ashok (37), a realtor, R Sabapathy (29), a farmer, R Vijayakumar (40) a hollow brick dealer, M Arumuga Kaniraj (29) running a TASMAC outlet, G Soniraj (42), an electrician, B Anandan (39) a supervisor in a construction firm and A Palanisamy (45), an LIC agent. Forest officials claimed they were friends and had reportedly entered the forest for a quick hunting session. B Ashok has previous history of in hunting and was caught and fined Rs1lakh in the past. Forest officials are checking the previous history of the remaining six accused.
"Both deer were shot from a close range and air gun pellet wounds were found on them," Dhinesh Kumar added.
Forest officials have decided to intensify their patrol operations in the region to ensure safety of wild animals from poachers.