3 caught selling tiger nails; racket busted

3 caught selling tiger nails; racket busted

The RMC Yard Police, helped by the NGO TRAFFIC, busted a poaching racket and recovered 142 tiger and leopard nails from people who came to the city to sell them.

They arrested Sanjay (21) from Shikaripura along with Nagamangala residents Kavith Kumar (23) and Gopi Rajanna (25) as they waited for customers with bags of tiger nails at the Yeshwanthpur flower market on Thursday night.

Police are looking for Sanjay’s close associate and a native of Pakshipura in Hunasuru Taluk who is involved in the racket.

A senior police officer said the absconding accused hunted tigers and leopards for the past four years, remove the nails, teeth and skin and passed them on to his associate Sanjay, who in turn gave them to his relative Kavith and his associate Gopi to be sold at the city’s bus stops and railway stations.

Poaching racket

The duo would demand up to Rs 20,000 for a pair of nails. All the four accused were part of the wildlife poaching racket operating out of Bandipur National Park. During the interrogation, the duo confessed that they obtained the consignment from their contact Sanjay and Vinu from Pakshipura close to Bandipur.

The officer said one big cat has around 18 nails and the accused could have killed nearly eight tigers and leopards to get the seized consignment.

Most of these accused belonged to the Hakki Pikki tribe involved in the illegal wildlife trade. Some even have passport and frequently visit Singapore and Malaysia to smuggle wildlife products.

Learning about the men’s arrest, officials of Wildlife crime control Bureau rushed to the city and are investigating the case. Police are looking to find links to a bigger racket involved in the illegal trade.