BHUBANESWAR: In a major seizure, a team of Keonjhar forest division recovered skin of a Royal Bengal Tiger (RBT) and arrested one person from Harichandanpur block of the district. The skin, 7-feet in length, belonged to an eight-year-old big cat killed in Rebana reserve forest of Anandapur Wildlife Division. It is one of the first cases of tiger hunting admitted by the Forest Department in many years.
The last two incidents were never acknowledged. Mahavir, a male translocated from Madhya Pradesh as part of the tiger re-introduction project at Satkosia Tiger Reserve, was found caught in a snare in November 2018. Before that a tiger was found killed in Debrigarh but it was not confirmed as poaching either.Forest officials, however, termed the Keonjhar incident to be an act of ‘retaliatory killing’ and not ‘poaching.’
“It had apparently killed multiple buffaloes following which it was poisoned by villagers,” Keonjhar DFO Dhamdhere Dhanraj Hanumant said. During interrogation, the accused admitted that his father and others poisoned the tiger after it killed their buffaloes. Based on intelligence input, a team of Keonjhar forest division that was tracking accused Butu Mahakud (30) raided his house at Budipada village under Rebanapalaspal in Harichandanpur on Thursday night and recovered the tiger skin.
Mahakud managed to escape but was later apprehended by the forest team from an area close to Harichandanpur. The accused was handed over to Anandapur Forest Division as the incident has taken place in it jurisdiction. Anandapur DFO Ajit Kumar Satapathy said that tiger appears to have been killed only a month back. “While it appears to be a case of retaliatory killing, our investigation is in progress to find out the exact cause of killing and others involved in the incident,” he said.
The poaching has raised concern as Rebana reserve forest is located close to Similipal Tiger Reserve. Besides, it is also well linked with Kuldhia Wildlife Division. The tiger skin seizure apart, forest officials also recovered carcass of a male leopard from Koi reserve forest in Hindol range in Dhenkanal. DFO Prakash Chand Gogineni said the leopard carcass was found in a snare laid to trap and kill wild boar. Three persons from Karnapur in Hindol range have been detained for interrogation in this matter.