MM Hills poacher free for now, claim officials

MM Hills poacher free for now, claim officials

The ‘area domination exercise’, taken up by the Forest department personnel along with 20 members of the Special Tiger Protection Force, at M M Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, according to the officials has been a success. Following the combing operations, the small gang of poachers have “retreated back to their holes” and are unlikely to venture for poaching activities, any time soon.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Javed Mumthaz, Deputy Conservator of Forests, said that the team combed a distance of 10-15 kilometres every day during the area domination exercise, which has put the poachers on alert.

Protected

“We have also looked for clues of any poaching activity inside the reserve. Presently, the reserves are very well protected,” he said. The forest personnel are regularly conducting night rounds to keep an eye on any suspicious activities inside the reserves, he said.

On rumours of poaching of elephants by the gang led by Saravanan, he dismissed the rumours and added that no cases of poaching have been reported in the reserves.
“But, it is possible that they discovered a dead elephant and removed its tuskers,” he added.

On Saravanan, who is said to be the leader of a poaching gang, with about 10-12 members in it, he said that though he had cases in Tamil Nadu, he was a not a “big time” poacher and a “non-entity”.

“Moreover, it is a very small group, which has disbanded as soon as we began the area domination exercise,” he said.

He said that the department was on a look out for tusks and other items, which were 2-3 years old and were in the possession of few individuals residing near the reserve.

“Though we have succeeded in nabbing one group with two tusks, we have narrowly missed catching other individuals who were trying to trade similar items. We have a good network of informers who are assisting in preventing such trades and to nab the culprits,” he said.

It can be recalled that the area domination exercise was launched after May 26, when the gang fired in the air near an anti-poaching camp in Palar forest range, in order to threaten Forest officials. The threat was said to be in retaliation to the exchange of fire between department personnel and the poachers, in which one poacher was reportedly injured on April 21.

Meeting

The meeting between officials of the department from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to facilitate exchange of information regarding the gang, will be held in the first week of July. Earlier, the meeting was expected to be held in the second week of June, he said.

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