The arrest of two tiger poachers from Rayagada has put the Wildlife Wing of the Odisha on its toes and it is trying to ascertain if they were in the State with the purpose of hunting.
The duo, belonging to Baheliya community of Madhya Pradesh’s Katni, were arrested by the Rayagada police late on Saturday and Maharashtra Forest Department (FD) took them on transit remand last night since the two are wanted in a series of tiger poaching in Vidarbha region.
On Monday, the Wildlife Wing of Odisha sought details of the two __ identified as Bhajan and Rouna __ from the Rayagada Police to know if they had anything to do with the State.
“Although we have not got any lead about their operation in Odisha, we have not ruled out the possibility. We will examine their call details and links to find out why they were here,” Chief Wildlife Warden of the State Janardan Dibakar Sharma told this paper.
Basing on intelligence inputs by Wildlife Protection Society of India and Maharashtra FD, a Rayagada Police team, led by Inspector Tapan Kumar Mohanty, raided a gypsy camp near the town railway station and held Bhajan and Rouna.
“They generally pose as sellers of herbs. Their overground trade is selling rudrakhsya whereas they prepare special metal traps to snare tigers. Within hours of trapping, they skin the felines and break them down to their bones, teeth and nails which go to international market through smugglers operating through Delhi,” said the sources.
After the successful arrest of the two poachers, Assistant Conservator of Forests of Gondia Division V G Udapure landed at Rayagada and produced the two culprits before the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate and obtained their transit remand.
Bhajan and Rouna are accused of killing tigers in the national park and critical tiger habitat in Melaghat Tiger Project and face charges under Sections 9/27/29/ 30/31/51(i)(c) of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, Section 26(c) of Indian Forest Act, 1927 and Sections 141/379 of Indian Penal Code as well as Section 3 of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act. They have committed the offence of hunting of tigers in Maharashtra.