Dehradun: Shrewd Bawariya community poachers have made smart changes in their strategy to carry on with big cat hunting, pulling the wool over forest officials' eyes.
They now hire houses on rent near the target area instead of pitching tents-- which used to make them visible, according to officials here, who are now finding it difficult to keep an eye on them.
Bawariya community members reside at their target place with their families. They study the area for at least two months and then prepare a plan to hunt big cats. They easily mix up with the locals to obfuscate any post-hunting investigations. Immediately after hunting, they vacate the rented property and leave the state.
Interestingly, Bawariya members involve their family members, especially women and children so that they are not easily suspected.
On February 22, Ghaziabad police arrested one Prakash, resident of Chamoli district with fresh leopard skin. The price of skin was estimated at `20 lakh. Prakash admitted to having killed the animal with the support of Bawariya community members. In fact, he was smuggling the skin at Dasna Crossing in Ghaziabad when police nabbed him.
SK Dutta, additional principal chief conservator of forest (ACCF) wildlife, intelligence and administration who was present during the operation told Hindustan Times, "Prakash was arrested with a leopard skin. His uncle involved is absconding. We are conducting an investigation into the case. He has accepted to have killed the animal with the help of Bawariya community people."
Significantly, tracking Bawariya community members in the state has become difficult with time. Instead of erecting tents and highlighting their stay, these people have started residing in rented rooms.
"It's not easy for us to suspect any person with family living on rented property. Thus, we face problems in identifying them and thereafter cracking their plan," Paramjit Singh, director Anti Poaching Cell shared.
Interestingly, Bawariya members involve their family members- especially women and children so that they are not easily suspected.