Following the recent arrest of five poachers including notorious Vakil Bawaria wanted for poaching in Melghat tiger reserve in Maharashtra, the Forest Department of Uttarakhand is on the lookout for more poachers.
According to activists, apart from members of communities like the Bawaria and Kanjar, traditionally involved in poaching, members of the Van Gujjar and Sapera communities have also started helping the poachers in Uttarakhand. The State Forest Department anti-poaching cell director SK Dutt said that the Forest Departments of Uttarakhand, Bihar and Maharashtra and working in coordination to trace poachers.
“Since we have made it tougher for wildlife commodity smugglers to reach Nepal through Uttarakhand, they are increasingly preferring the route to Nepal from Bihar,” he averred. Dutt said that the list of poachers which the department is looking for had been renewed and the authorities are making efforts to nab those on the list. The department is also looking for Mohammed Umar, the person believed to be in possession of the pelt of the tigress recently poached in Pilibhit forest division of neighbouring UP.
Criminals of certain community are using their links with members of their own community residing in the area where Bihar’s border with Nepal is located. However, wildlife activists state that smuggling wildlife contraband to Nepal via Uttarakhand has not become tough. “The border with Nepal remains porous and contraband is still smuggled routinely to Nepal from Uttarakhand and vice versa,” said an activist wishing anonymity.
It is pertinent to mention here that earlier this month, five men including notorious poacher Vakil Bawaria were arrested in a joint operated carried out by the Forest Departments of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. Vakil is wanted for poaching in Maharashtra and also suspected of being involved in poaching incidents in Madhya Pradesh. However, the person to whom the pelt of the tigress poached recently, Mohammed Umar is still absconding along with one other accused. The authorities are interrogating the five poachers arrested to reach the absconding men.