Six poachers arrested, three jaw traps recovered in BRT

Six poachers arrested, three  jaw traps recovered in BRT

 Six tiger poachers were arrested on the outskirts of Kollegal biodiversity zone that falls under the Biligiriranganathaswamy Tiger (BRT) Reserve Forest on Saturday.

The arrested are Jagadish (30), Jalarsingh (45), Lakumchand (26), Rotas (20), Bimal Devi (30) and Pappu (30).

All the arrested are natives of Odisha. As many as three jaw traps were recovered from them. Jaw traps are one of the most barbaric traps that are used by poachers. Generally made of steel, they slam onto the animals’ limbs and cut deeply into the flesh.

During interrogation, it was learnt that the team of six members had arrived at the (BRT) Reserve Forest to poach tigers.

The poachers had set up a temporary shelter alongside nomadic families, who sold plastic flowers for their living, outside the border of the BRT.

According to sources, jaw traps were found at Gundal reservoir in the tiger reserve, three days ago. On finding the jaw traps, Vijay Mohan Raj, conservator of forests and director of BRT Project Tiger, and Boraiah, range forest officer, had kept a strict vigil.On suspicion, the six were arrested. During interrogation, they spilled the beans.

The team hid themselves inside a small cave in the reserve forest and watched the movement of tigers. They also showed the jaw traps they had placed in the tiger reserve to the forest officers.

“The jaw traps are activated only in the night. Once a tiger is caught in the jaw trap, we pierce its eyes with a sharp object and later smash its head with a stick,” the poachers said. The accused, in addition to poaching tigers, were involved in selling pelts, said the forest officials.

Jaw traps were first located at the Nagarahole National Park in 2002 by a team led by forest officer Annaiah. The poachers arrested were natives of Madhya Pradesh.

In 2003, a team led by Deputy Conservator of Forests D Yatish Kumar arrested tiger poachers at the Bandipur National Park.

Similarly, in 2008, the staff at Veeranahosahalli forest area arrested two poachers and recovered jaw traps.

In December 2011, the death of a tiger at Bandipur National Park was suspected to be due to a jaw trap. However, the deputy conservator of forests, chief conservator of forests (biodiversity) and director of Project Tiger have ruled out the threat of poachers in the State.

Though the arrest of six poachers is commendable, it only highlights the threat to tigers in the State, said a  wildlife expert.

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