Harsha Kumari Singh
Tuesday, November 21, 2006 (Jaipur):
In Rajasthan tribal hunter Jugraj Mogia accused of poaching tigers in Sariska and Ranthambore has surrendered before the Jaipur police.
The Mogia’s are traditionally hunters but lately their skills of tracking and hunting are being used by big poachers and smugglers like Sansar Chand.
Jugraj has confesssed to killing three tigers and has surrendered after being convinced by an NGO Tiger Watch.
Since the tigers vanished from Sariska and the numbers sharply declined in Ranthambore, the police have launched a crackdown on the poaching network.
Jugraj Mongia claims he and his gang of Mogia hunters shot and killed the tigers between 2002 and 2003.
“I killed three tigers. Four-five of us went to the jungle to track tigers at water holes. After identifying the water hole, we would sit there waiting for the tiger. As soon as we saw the tiger, we would shoot it,” said Jugraj.
The Mogia tribals live on the edge of the forest and are known for their skill in tracking animals.
The Mogia’s hunting expertise has been used by smugglers to poach tigers for the international trade in wildlife parts.
Rehabilitation of tribals
Tiger Watch, an NGO that works for the rehabilitation of Mogia tribals, is now motivating the hunters to give up their traditional occupation.
“If somebody can tell a tiger mark on a stone, these people can. They are master crackers. Today we talk about relocating tigers in Sariska but the Mogias are still there. The day you relocate the tigers, they will again be killed,” said Fateh Singh, Tiger Watch.
“So, if we don’t rehabilitate the Mogias then forget about protecting the tiger,” he added.
Ranthambore is now the last remaining sanctuary for tigers in Rajasthan.
Wildlife experts believe that till tribes like the Mogia’s are not given another occupation, there will continue to remain a threat to the existence of this highly endangered animal.
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