By Amit S. Upadhye
Notorious tiger poacher Sansar Chand, who was recently acquitted as there wasn’t enough evidence against him, isn’t the only one to have walked away scot free. Several poachers in Karnataka enjoy the same freedom, despite being responsible for several tiger deaths.
Wildlife experts are upset by the lukewarm response from investigating agencies, which are still unable to catch the main accused. The state, which has the highest concentration of tigers in the country, is now on the radar for poaching gangs that operate through out the country.
The state has seen four tiger poaching cases since January - Two tigers were poisoned recently in the Nagarhole Reserve and two other poaching cases were reported from Bandipur and N.R. Pura in Chikmagalur district. Although agencies filed the necessary FIRs and Forest Offence Cases (FOC), they have failed to follow through on the investigations.
Shockingly, one of the tiger poising cases from the Nagarhole Tiger Reserve, was handed over to the Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF), a team of youngsters who have joined the Forest Department a year ago. Both cases were handed over to the CID Forest Cell and COD officials. While CID Forest Cell sleuths managed to catch an accomplice of the accused who poisoned the tiger in Nagarhole, COD officials are still to make an arrest.
The Forest Department is also still to begin investigations in the N.R. Pura tiger poaching case even after officials in Kerala alerted them early in June this year. A poacher who was caught by the Kerala Forest Department had confessed to procuring the skin from a poacher in N.R. Pura.
“The involvement of multiple agencies and delays in starting the investigations are the major drawbacks. More....