Did poachers get another tiger?

Forest officials trace bloodstains; Jalgaon villagers claim to have heard cat's painful

THE roar of yet another big cat has been muffled.

One more case of tiger poaching was reported in the state by the forest department in Jalgaon on October 6,
bang in the middle of the Wildlife Week observed from October 2.

Since an eyewitness claimed to have seen poachers kill a big cat, locals in Jalgaon have been on the prowl for the last six days, trying to track down the poachers.

The bloodstains and pugmarks were found from the site where a big cat was killed in Jalgaon

The eyewitness, a teacher and Ayurveda practitioner who claimed to be in the forest looking for medicinal herbs, also said that two cubs had gone missing.

"We received a call from the teacher, informing us about the death," Wildlife Warden of Jalgaon district, Abhay Ujagare, who was the first to reach the spot, told MiD DAY.

"When we reached the spot, all we found was a few bloodstains, but could not trace any other circumstantial evidence."

According to estimates, India has barely 1,411 tigers left. If the latest disappearance of the tiger and two cubs is confirmed, the number would be down to 1,408.

"The eyewitness told us that the poachers killed the tigress and the cubs had gone missing. Locals too said they had heard the tigress' painful roars," said Ujagare.

Happens often

"Such poaching is not rare in Jalgaon where leopards and cheetahs fall prey to poachers," said General Secretary of Khandesh Nature Conservation, Vinod Patil.

Confirming the incident, Deputy Conservator of Forests Sarfaraz Khan said, "Our investigation is going on.

It will be difficult to say anything as we do not have much evidence. Neither the animal's skin nor any other evidence was found at the spot.

All we have is blood samples, which have been sent to Hyderabad for examination. Also, we have found pugmarks at the spot."

National Wildlife Board member Kishore Rithe told MiD DAY that reports of bloodstains collected from the spot were awaited from a laboratory in Hyderabad.

"It is shameful that poaching continues in India despite tigers on the verge of extinction," he said.

"The government needs to zero in on people who get these poachers to commit such crimes.

For a little money, they're killing tigers, which are already extinct in the state," said WWF's interim state director, Dr Goldin Quadros.

The number of tigers left in India, according to the last tiger census in 2006

The number of tigers killed between 2007 and 2009

Leo for tigers
Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio will put his fame to work to raise global awareness about India's dwindling number of tigers.

DiCaprio and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh met at a reception in New York last month.

"The actor expressed his interest to play a crucial role in sensitising the global community to the cause of the Indian tiger," a senior environment ministry had said.

Legal View
IN a case relating to seizure of leopard skin in 1995, a Delhi court sentenced poacher, Sansar Chand, to six years imprisonment two months ago, saying such an offence should be dealt with "iron hands".

A penalty of Rs 50,000 was also imposed on him while awarding the maximum jail term prescribed under the Wildlife Protection Act.


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