After receiving a tip-off from the public about poaching activities a team of forest rangers were quickly put together in Maharashtra, India. The resulting operation which was carried out yesterday resulted in the recovery of 200 bombs, explosives, guns, ammunition, electric wire traps and deer skins. While the poachers were not present the officials know who they are and expect to make arrests later.
“On receiving a tip-off about poaching activity in the area, a secret mission was carried out. We seized poaching tools and weapons, but the accused managed to escape,” said R Sreenivasa Murthy, chief conservator of forests and field director, Panna Tiger Reserve.
“We also found iron rods with blood stains on it besides raw material used for making crude bombs and several sharp-edged weapons,”
The poachers belong to the Baheliya community from Madhya Pradesh and they are known to be heavily involved in poaching of all types of wildlife in Maharashtra.
Members of the Beheliya community last year had an a big impact on the tigers of the state. In one major incident last year all leave was cancelled for forest guards and rangers as the authorities heard that there was an advance order for 25 tigers. Poachers in the community had been given an advance payment for the tigers skins and bones.
The raid follows on from an unconnected operation which led to the arrest of 3 smugglers in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh state. They were attempting to smuggle 5 tiger skins into Nepal and told the authorities that they had got the tiger skins from poachers in Maharashtra. From in initial questioning, it was learned that the recovered hides have been smuggled from Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district to the Lucknow.
“The trio was in possession of five tiger hides and porcupine (an endangered species), when they were held by the police. We are trying to find out who was interested in dealing with the trio and suspect that the hides were to be smuggled to international market via Nepal,” said J Ravinder Goud, senior superintendent of police, Lucknow.