Alarm bells ring as ‘fresh’ tiger bones seized in Gurgaon
Express News Service
Posted online: Tuesday, July 08, 2008 at 0033 hrs
NEW DELHI, JULY 7: The day Sariska’s first translocated tigress is slated to walk free, came further evidence of continuing pressure on the tiger from poachers: about 15-20 kg of fresh tiger bones were recovered today from the house of a known poacher in a village near Gurgaon, official sources said.
The recovery was made by the newly created Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), which, acting on a tip-off, raided the Suratnagar village under Rajendra Nagar police station in Gurgaon. Although the accused, Bhima Bavaria, managed to escape, WCCB officials and Haryana Police recovered the bones which had been salted to preserve them. Two gunny bags of iron traps were also recovered.
A WCCB official said the traps are increasingly being used for hunting tigers as bullets not only make a lot of noise but also damage tiger skins. These small traps entrap the legs of the tigers after which they are captured and killed.
“This is our first major seizure and is a very big haul. The tiger skull and tiger canines are intact and sell at a very high price. We have also recovered hunting traps, knives and metal springs,” said WCCB’s Gurum Singh.
“If our suspicions are correct this poacher is a major operator who was one of the prime accused in the Sariska poaching case. He has also been active in poaching in UP,” said Belinda Wright from the Wildlife Protection Society of India.
To find out how many tigers the seized bones may have belonged to and which reserve these could have come from, a forensic team has been sent to the site.
Tiger skins are in great demand in international market and so are bones and teeth, which are supposed to be highly effective aphrodisiacs. A recent authoritative survey carried out by government agencies put the total number of tigers in the country between 1100-1600, much less than the nearly 3000 that used to be quoted earlier.
Bavaria is a known history-sheeter and has been arrested in the past for wildlife crimes. Some skin and hides of wild animals had been recovered from him in 2005. Officials said they identified four more accomplices of Bavaria who had collaborated with him on the latest crime.
Meanwhile, the Sariska tigress, after spending two days in her enclosure, is set to be released tonight. The first male who has already been released is doing well, say officials. “The tiger wandered around 3.5 km away from his enclosure, sat near a water hole and also came back near his old enclosure. He is clearly trying to establish his territory. The tigress will join him in the wild soon,” said Rajpal Singh, member Special Empowered Committee for Sariska.