Tiger poaching near Nagpur confirmed

The Forest department has arrested seven people for poaching a big cat, whose carcass was found in the Deolapar range of Nagpur Territorial Forest last week, near Pench Tiger Reserve and recovered parts from them.

The arrest was made early Sunday morning.

Further exposing the laxity of the department, it was revealed that the tiger was killed around Diwali last year.

This means nobody, including senior officers, patrolled the area barely 300 metres from a national highway the past three months.

A forest guard and a labourer were suspended for dereliction of duty.

Post-mortem revealed the tiger was probably electrocuted.

"The arrested persons have admitted poaching," divisional forest officer P K Mahajan said.

While four persons were arrested from two villages near the place where the carcass was found, three were arrested from Tumsar tehsil 80 km away.

The seizure included 12 claws, skull and rib-cage bones.

"They (poachers) said they put wire to kill wild pigs. When they found the tiger dead, they kept off the place only to return a few days later to remove some parts," Mahajan said.

Two of the accused are apparently habitual herbivore poachers.

"A dead animal emits extremely foul stench. How could the officials or the ground staff not think of checking the spot adjacent to highway? Were they afraid that if they find a tiger dead, they would have a lot of explaining to do?" a wildlife activist said.

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