Forest sleuths arrest seer who is Kingpin of wildlife trade in Karnataka
The sleuths from Forest Mobile Squad (FMS), Belagavi division arrested four others and recovered three black buck skins from them.
Published: 26th July 2022 11:37 AM | Last Updated: 26th July 2022 11:37 AM | A+A A-
HUBBALLI: The sleuths from Karnataka Forest Department have apprehended a seer from Ranebennur taluk of Haveri district for having involved in trade of wildlife contraband. The seer, Basappa Medleri, 32, is the kingpin of wildlife trade in the district.
The sleuths from Forest Mobile Squad (FMS), Belagavi division arrested four others and recovered three black buck skins from them. A two-wheeler has been seized and snares that were used for catching the antelope have also been recovered. The raiding team was led by DCF of FMS Belagavi, S K Kallolikar under the guidance of CCF Manjunath R Chauhan.
The officials said that the main accused Medleri runs a small ashram and counsels many villagers. He assures them of spiritual help and also suggests they give him wildlife contraband if they find any. Besides this he also gets involved in killing of black bucks which are in good numbers in Ranebennur which has a dedicated sanctuary for these animals.
The seer and his associates win the confidence of farmers who have fields along the forest area. They electrify the fence and once the animal is caught, they take it out for trade. The meat is sold to the highest bidder and same with the horns. The skin of black buck which is also referred as 'Krishnajina' is in great demand all over the world. Its said that the seer has sold a few skins outside Karnataka as well.
"There are several versions of the accused who have been arrested in the blackbuck case in Haveri," said a forest official. The accused have also used nets and trained dogs to chase the blackbucks. One among the five accused, brother of seer, Nagappa Medleri is a habitual wildlife offender and he is on bail for a crime under wildlife protection act, of 1972. In 2021 he tried to sell a sand boa snake to a customer," explained the forest official.
"There have been several arrests in the past involving blackbuck poaching. Many auto rickshaws in North Karnataka have black buck horns on them and they are never stopped by the RTO nor the forest department. Strict checking should be there to control poaching of these antelopes. Already their grazing areas are shrunk and despite being the schedule 1 animal under the wildlife act, the animal is not getting the needed attention in North Karnataka," said Basavaraj Omkarappa, a wildlife activist.