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5 poachers held in Kali Tiger Reserve; huge cache of animal parts including claws, deer meat seized

The gang of five were involved in several poaching cases and their network runs deep, including political nexus, said an official. One of the accused is said to be a close aid of a former minister from the region.
Last Updated : 10 November 2023, 17:37 IST
Last Updated : 10 November 2023, 17:37 IST

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Hubballi: Kali Tiger Reserve officials have arrested five habitual wildlife offenders and recovered a huge cache of poached animal parts like claws, deer meat along with some arms and ammunition from them here on Friday.

Acting on a tip-off, the officials raided the house of one Sudhakar V Mahale in Shivapur village in Gunda Range on the border of the tiger reserve and Yellapur forest division and recovered four claws of leopards, meat of sambar deer, pelts of two monitor lizards, beak of stork billed kingfisher along with country made gun, ammunition, snares, and country bombs.

Based on the information given by Sudhakar, the officials arrested four others, identified as Narayan T Mahale, Raghunath T Mahale, Maruthi K Lakolli and Shankar N Mahale.

Speaking to DH, Canara Circle Chief Conservator of Forests Vasanth Reddy said the officials conducted the raids over two days and recovered a huge cache of animal parts from them. “We have recovered four-five claws and the samples have been sent to the forensic lab to ascertain whether they belong to a leopard or a tiger,” he said.

Sources in the KTR informed DH that the gang of five are involved in several poaching cases and their network runs deep, including political nexus. Sudhakar is said to be a close aid of a former minister from the region.

KTR field director Nilesh Shinde said investigations are on.

The five have been sent to judicial custody and the intelligence wing of the department is working on to gather more information regarding their involvement in other cases. However, he denied recovery of any tiger claws.

Reddy said that instructions have been issued to concerned officials to make sure that thorough investigations are done and none of the accused persons are spared.

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Published 10 November 2023, 17:37 IST

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