Inter-state tiger poachers nabbed, leopard skin seized

Inter-state tiger poachers nabbed, leopard skin seized

Rachakonda Commissioner of Police Mahesh Bhagavat with the leopard skin.

Sleuths of Malkajgiri zone, Rachakonda Commissionerate, have nabbed four members of a 10-member gang of inter-state poachers and seized a leopard skin, four nails and a car from them, at a lodge here after a joint operation with LB Nagar police.

All the four accused, Basudev Masti, Jagannath Sisa, Bali Pangi and Nagothi Banuat belong to Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. 

According to a police statement here on Monday, the accused earn a living by poaching animals after laying wire traps. They mostly target the felines as their skin is in high demand. These professional poachers are well versed with the animals' tracks as they frequently move through Sirpur Kagaznagar forest area, Maharashtra Tadoba forest area, Chhattisgarh forest and borders of Odisha and Visakhapatnam forest areas. 
Routine business

Tiger poaching and skinning is a regular business of the poachers. A carefully salvaged skin without any damage fetches them anywhere between Rs 20 to Rs 25 lakh in the black market. The nails are also in high demand.

After killing the animals they inform their source to find a buyer for the skin for a particular price. According to them, there is no fixed price and the rate varies according to customers' demand. A leopard skin fetches Rs 5 lakh or more at times. Tiger skin, though pricey, has better demand.

The accused told the police that the leopard skin in their possession belonged to a big cat killed by them about three months ago after laying wire traps. The skin was removed carefully and dried. It was a male leopard aged about two years and they had informed their contacts to search for prospective buyers. They had transported the skin in a car and were waiting at the lodge for customers.