Govt to refer tiger killing case to Goa Wild Life Board

"The opinion of State Wildlife Board would be sought to resolve whether or not the animal remains should be sent for retesting in another government-approved forensic laboratory," State Forest Minister Filip Nery Rodrigues said. The investigations into the alleged tiger poaching in Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary are in a state of flux after the forensic report from Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) revealed that remains of the animal sent from Goa were not that of tiger.

The forensic findings, sent to Chief Conservator of Forest Dr Shashi Kumar last week, contradicted the circumstantial evidences collected by the Forest Department during its month-long probe. The Minister said that Wildlife Board headed by Chief Minister Digamber Kamat will take a call on the issue. "The Board comprises of various representatives who are in a better position to decide on such issue," Rodrigues said. The tiger was allegedly killed on February 27 at Keri village in Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary.

The forest department during its investigation had arrested five locals for their alleged role in killing the tiger and trying to destroy the evidence. "The tiger got wounded after getting trapped in the wire snare and was later shot dead allegedly by the villagers," forest officials said. A statement recorded from the eye witness revealed that the tiger was shot with 12 bore single barrel gun and a muzzle loader gun, they added. The animal was later burnt to destroy the evidence.

The department had sent the tiger remains including teeth, jaw remains, toe pad and fur for forensic examination in the first week of June. Rodrigues said that government will also seek legal opinion on the entire case. "One of the accused in tiger killing case has filed complaint against three senior forest department officials of torturing him in the custody," the Minister added.

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