Combing on near India-Nepal border to nab leopard poachers
Wildlife personnel with the help of the SSB began an intensive combing drive in Pithoragarh near the India-Nepal border on Friday, after a leopardess carcass without its head, claws and skin was found in Almoradehradun Updated: Nov 10, 2017 19:33 IST
Wildlife personnel with the help of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) began an intensive combing drive in Pithoragarh near the India-Nepal border on Friday, after a leopardess carcass without its head, claws and skin was found in Almora.
Officials suspect the involvement of an international gang for which they will seek help of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) to crack the case. Similarly, an eight-member team will hold a parallel investigation at the department level.
“We believe that an international gang is behind this incident. To prevent smuggling of the animal’s body parts, we started combing areas along the India-Nepal border,” said IP Singh, conservator of forest, North Kumaon.
The carcass was found near Kafli Khanyadi village in Bhanoli area on Thursday evening. What drew the attention of forest officials was the neatly skinned carcass with the head and claws removed skillfully.
Preliminary investigation revealed the spotted cat died of liver damage. There was an injury mark leading to suspicion that the leopardess was shot down, but this was ruled out by forest officers and veterinarians
Forest officials suspect that the leopardess was trapped by using a poisoned bait. Involvement of locals is not ruled out as the officials interrogated a few suspects in the village.
The SSB was briefed about the poaching and the forest staff is closely working with SSB personnel. The forest staff has alerted its intelligence network to look out for evidence and tip-offs to crack the case.
“The poaching happened near a village which is beyond the boundary of forest. We will study all aspects of the case,” divisional forest officer (civil soyam,Almora) RC Sharma said.
Incidentally, leopard attacks have gone up in Almora, which shares boundary with Pithoragarh, in the past few months.
Forest officers blame the increasing population of spotted cats for the spike in man-leopard conflicts. Of the roughly 340 leopard deaths this year, nearly 80 has been reported in Uttarakhand alone, as per statistics of Delhi based Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI).