Maharashtra Government on Tuesday announced a CBI probe into tiger poaching cases unearthed in recent past.
The ambit of the inquiry would also include the cases in Vidarbha that came to the light between October 2012 and May 2013.
The announcement was made by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan at 'Save-the-tiger' campaign event, a joint initiative of Sanctuary Asia the Wildlife and Forests Department of the state government.
"There is a need to protect tigers and maintain the balance of environment...There is a need to boost forest tourism but the challenge (is) to avoid its crass commercialisation (sic)," he said.
In a first-ever such initiative in the country, forest minister Patangrao Kadam lit a symbolic bonfire of wildlife contrabands comprising tiger and leopard skins and elephant tusks which have been seized from poachers, as part of the campaign.
The animal body parts, especially of tigers, command huge prices in international markets.
Sanctuary Asia Editor Bittu Sahgal outlined the crucial role the public must play in protecting the big cat and winning the war against poaching and uncontrolled destruction of habitat.
He said that population of tigers in the country has reduced to 1,800 from around 100,000 in 1900. On its part, Maharashtra has declared seven new tiger sanctuaries/conservation reserves in the last three years and brought 999-sq km area under the legal cover.
These new sanctuaries are located at very strategic locations for the breeding and safe dispersal of tigers.