The MP forest department’s special task force (STF) arrested 39 people for poaching three tigers, four leopards and 200 wild boars, busting a major poaching network in the Pench-Kanha corridor in Seoni and Balaghat districts.
The arrested people include four tantrics, 14 middlemen and 21 poachers. Forest officials found the tantrics had spread rumours that claws, paws, teeth, bones and whiskers of tigers and leopards held ‘powers’ that could make villagers rich, give clues to buried treasures and ensure success in gambling.
The details of this operation regarding the poaching in Seoni and Balaghat were provided by additional principal conservator of forests (wildlife protection) RP Singh to principal conservator of forests (wildlife) Jitendra Aggarwal in his interim report.
According to the report, on November 21, poachers had buried a tiger in Balaghat district’s Sitapathor area. The forest officials exhumed the carcass with the help of a dog squad. Two suspects were questioned, who admitted that they electrocuted the tiger and buried the carcass. They revealed the names of other poachers. On further investigation and questioning of suspects, STF exhumed the skeletal remains of another tiger buried near Seoni-Balaghat border.
Arrested poachers admit to poaching tigers, leopards for tantrics
Interrogations led to the arrests of poachers in various parts of Seoni and Balaghat districts in Madhya Pradesh and Sitasavangi area of Maharashtra. The arrested poachers admitted to poaching tigers and leopards for tantrics.
Madhya Pradesh has reported 29 tiger deaths this year, with Kanha alone reporting deaths of eleven tigers, the highest for any tiger reserve in the state so far.