Poaching scourge haunts Odisha’s Similipal as tiger skin recovered, 1 arrested
Official sources said they believe the big cat was hunted over a month back. The skin has been recovered from the possession of the accused.
Baripada: Poaching menace seems to be only getting worse in Similipal forest of Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district. While forest personnel are facing the heat following the hunting spree of elephants with the most recent being only last week, a Special Task Force (STF) team has recovered the skin of a Royal Bengal tiger from Sridamchandrapur village under Udala Tehsil and arrested one person in this connection here today. The accused was identified as Debasish Patra (21) of Musakhai village under Kundabai police limits here.
As per reports, the STF team got a reliable tip-off regarding dealing of wildlife products and conducted a raid early in the morning near Belpal Chhak in Udala. During search, the STF team recovered one tiger skin and other incriminating materials from the possession of the accused. When he could not give a satisfactory answer regarding the possession of the items, the team arrested him. Two other poachers however managed to escape.
Official sources said they believe the big cat was hunted over a month back. “A case has been registered and the accused booked under Sec 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. He will be produced in court and the skin be sent to Director WII, Dehradun for biological examination. Further investigation is underway,”Udala police informed.
On December 7, a tusker was allegedly killed by some poachers in Jenabili forest range of Similipal National Park. The issue came to light four days later after some local tribals raised their voices demanding a thorough probe into it and alleging that forest staff in complicity with the poachers burnt the elephant carcass and immersed the ashes in the river.
Following investigation, three personnel including two foresters and a forest guard have been suspended as a precautionary measure.
Meanwhile, seizure of the tiger skin has raised an alarm for the Forest department and triggered outrage among wildlife enthusiasts and environmentalists as the population of the big cat is already on the brink of extinction in the tiger reserve.