COIMBATORE: In an early morning operation, forest officials arrested a person carrying a bag with tiger skin at the Thiruvalluvar Bus Stand in the city on Wednesday. Officials suspect the skin to belong to that of a tiger cub less than a year old.
Conservator of Forests, of Coimbatore Circle, VT Kandasamy told reporters on Wednesday afternoon, that officials, led by assistant conservator, R Jayaraj, had gone to the spot based on a tip off. They arrested Palanisamy(47), a resident of Kumaranthapuram in Tirupur. The estimated cost of the skin is around Rs 5 lakh, officials said. The skin will be sent to the centre for cellular and molecular biology, Hyderabad, for verification.
Kandasamy said that there are around 125 to 150 tigers in the Nilgiris biosphere reserve. The government has allotted more staff and vehicles to curb the smuggling of tiger skin and poaching, he added. Despite control measures, he said many people continue to obtain and sell tiger skin because of the high demand in the international market. “Because of the high demand even fake tiger skins and being sold,” he said. A special team has been formed to identify those involved in the business.
Officials suspect Palanisamy to be part of a racket with international links. An official who was part of the team said that Palanisamy had got the skin from someone in Madurai.