Unchecked poaching of wild cats in the Tadoba Tiger Reserve in Chandrapur district, has prompted the state government to act. Sending out a stern message that it would not compromise on wildlife conservation, the field director of Tadoba Tiger Reserves, V K Sinha, was shunted.
The government has taken serious note of the Friday incident, in which a mutilated carcass of a full-grown tiger was found near Ghanti Chouki, in Chandrapur district. The state forest ministry had sounded a red alert in Tadoba and other wildlife areas in Maharashtra after intelligence reports suggested that tiger poachers of the Bahelia group in Madhya Pradesh had been paid an advance of Rs40 lakh to kill 25 big cats in the state.
After Friday's poaching, the number of tiger deaths in Maharashtra since January 2012 has gone up to eight. Of these, four were clear cases of poaching, while the remaining are shrouded in mystery.
The mention in the autopsy, of a hole on the tiger carcass akin to a gunshot injury, has raised new questions for investigators probing the case. "Vets have recovered some blackish metal-like balls which could be caused due to gun shots," said a senior forest official.
SWH Naqvi, the state wildlife warden, said that Sinha will be replaced by chief conservator of forests (CCF), Virendra Tiwari immediately. "Sinha has been posted at the state forest headquarters in Nagpur as CCF (budget and planning)," he added. However, the senior forest officer maintained that the transfer was routine and not connected to Friday's incident.