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Sariska tiger’s death no accident, farmer who surrendered is a poacher, say officials

Sahay Prajapat had placed a wire trap near his farm in which four-year-old male tiger (ST-11) fgot stuck and died of strangulation

jaipur Updated: Mar 23, 2018 21:48 IST
Devendra Bhardwaj
Devendra Bhardwaj
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Tiger poaching,Tiger death,ST-11
Officials pick ST-11’s carcass.(HT Photo)

A farmer who had surrendered before the forest department following the death of a tiger at his farm, is a poacher, officials said Friday.

Sahay Prajapat had placed a wire trap near his farm at Indok village to stop wild animals from damaging his crop. A four-year-old male tiger (ST-11) from adjoining Sariska Tiger Reserve had died of strangulation after getting stuck in the trap on March 20. Prajapat was arrested after he surrendered before the forest department. He was also booked under the Wildlife Protection Act and interrogated over last three days to ascertain if the tiger death was accidental or it was a case of poaching.

“During interrogation, it has been confirmed that Prajapat is a poacher. One gun and other material related to poaching have been recovered from him,” said a forest official who is part of the investigating team.

Based on information provided by Prajapat, three other people have been detained, the official said. Prajapt will be produced in court on March 25.

The investigating team is of the view that more people may be involved in the killing of ST-11. The tiger was found dead 300 metres away from Prajapat’s agriculture field. The snare and tether has been recovered from his house.

Such snares are used to trap sambhar, neelgai and wild boar, say forest officials. The investigating team also came to know that many persons from Prajapat’s village saw the tiger struggling but no one informed the forest officials. Several people living near the incident spot have moved out for the time being fearing action by the forest department.

The Indok village is fully dependent on STR and has about 150 houses. Several of its residents ply safari vehicles in the reserve. Some villagers are suspected of killing sambhar, neelgai, and wild boar by putting snares and putting up electric fencing near fields. The meat is supplied to nearby eateries (dhabas). Forest officials say the locals crush sambhar’s antlers and use the powder for treating pneumonia and weak eye sight.

So far as Prajapat is concerned, the focus of the interrogation is whether he is linked with a gang of poachers or works alone, the officials said. His father has also been a poacher.

ST-11’s death had come a time when Sariska administration is working hard to trace tigress ST-5 missing since February 21. ST-5 was last seen with ST-11 in the Umri area of the reserve, officials said.

Spread over 800 sq km, Sarika had lost all its tigers in 2005. To re-populate it, eight tigers were relocated from Ranthambore to Sariska between 2008 and 2012. The reserve at present has 13 tigers – nine females and four males. This includes the missing ST-5.

ST-11’s is the second tiger death in Sariska after repopulation. In 2010, ST-1, the first tiger relocated from Ranthambore, died after villagers poisoned it.

First Published: Mar 23, 2018 21:47 IST