Crouching tiger, hidden poacher

By: Bipin Kumar Singh Date: 2010-01-25 Place: Namuk Village

A tiger was murdered using poisoned arrows by the very tribe in Arunachal Pradesh that considers it sacred.

Despite government claims about the increasing tiger population and anti-poaching efforts, poachers are killing this gorgeous animal on a regular basis. MiD DAY managed to obtain an exclusive photograph of a tiger that was killed in Arunachal Pradesh (AP), and investigated the facts.

On January 7, a tiger was killed by villagers of Namuk, a village 30 km from Siang district in AP. The villagers first weakened the tiger with poisoned arrows, shot it with a hunting rifle loaded with poisoned pellets, and then bled it to death. On January 8, the tiger was brought to the village, where an environment activist clicked the picture. ( view picture at: )

The activist, who did not wish to be named, told MiD DAY, “I was visiting a friend in the village, when I saw the tiger, proudly displayed on a bamboo bed. I was outraged, and decided to investigate. I found out that the villagers were planning to skin the tiger, and sell the skin for Rs 1 lakh to smugglers. These smugglers are from Guwahati, and have ties with gangs from Bangladesh and Nepal.

“The villagers are tribals from Galo community and there are as many as 20 families with 150 members in the Namuk village. Tigers are a sacred animal for this community, but there is big money in poaching,” added the activist.

When contacted, Tusar Taba, superintendent of police, Along district, AP, said, “I have instructed my men to find out the authenticity of the incident. I am aware of the gangs (smugglers) in other northeastern states, but I am not sure whether they are functional in Arunachal. If involved, they will be severely punished under the Forest Act.”

Jambe Tati, PRO for the AP Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, said, “I don’t have any information about the killing, but I am going to ask the cops to investigate.”

The kill sheet

95 tigers killed in 1994
121 tigers killed in 1995
52 tigers killed in 1996
88 tigers killed in 1997
44 tigers killed in 1998
81 tigers killed in 1999
53 tigers killed in 2000
72 tigers killed in 2001
43 tigers killed in 2002
35 tigers killed in 2003
34 tigers killed in 2004
43 tigers killed in 2005
37 tigers killed in 2006
27 tigers killed in 2007
29 tigers killed in 2008
32 tigers killed in 2009

Tigers killed between 1994 and 2009

It’s so tragic. We will find out in which of the two national parks has this happened. I am aware that the mafia is still active in the northeastern states and other border areas where smuggling of animal parts is rampant. We will punish them in case it’s true.
Rajesh Gopal, Member secretary, National Tiger Authority of India

In Maharashtra too, illegal trade of deer meat is rising. It is available in most restaurants in Crawford Market.
Anuradha Sawhney, Former senior PETA member and co-opted member of Animal Protection Board of India

Tigers left in a total of 16 states (outside Jharkhand and the Sunderbans in West Bengal)
According to a 2008 census

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