BENGALURU: Rana, the dashing German Shepherd of the forest department, sealed the case of the tiger shooting, leading foresters to a poacher hiding in a hamlet, and seven of the animal’s claws. The sniffer dog, aged 7, who lives in Bandipur Tiger Reserve, was brought to Nagarahole Tiger Reserve (NTR) to find the culprits, after foresters learnt that the 5-year-old male tiger had been shot dead. The carcass was found on Tuesday night.
“Since it’s a serious case, we brought Rana. He led us to the poacher, who was arrested on Wednesday, and also to the house of a coffee estate worker where we found the seven fresh canines,” NTR Director Mahesh told TNIE.
Rana has come to the aid of the department after three years of rest. He had helped them nab poachers and solved a sandalwood smuggling case in Srirangapatna, and in 2017, had tracked those who had escaped with the claws of Prince, a popular male tiger of BTR. Rana has solved 15 cases so far.
Mahesh said the foresters had recovered wildlife meat from the house of Santosh (35), who was nabbed on Wednesday. Santosh had confessed that it was 1.2kg of deer meat.
The team also seized 250 gm of iron balls used to make cartridges and bullets. “Santosh said he was part of a gang of four members who had entered the forest to hunt deer.
They had stumbled upon the tiger lying near the bushes. Not sure that the tiger was dead, they shot it. Santosh revealed that Sharanu, who stayed on a coffee estate in Kodagu, had taken the claws. By the time we reached, Sharanu had escaped but we recovered the claws. Santosh revealed the whereabouts of the three other poachers, who are absconding. We have sought police help to catch them,” he said.
Chief Wildlife Warden Ajai Misra said that a tiger being shot is a serious matter, and that staffers and people residing in the hamlet are being questioned. Pointing out that Santosh’s confession had many loopholes, Misra added that camera trap images have given some information.