7 held for poaching Royal Bengal Tiger near Kaziranga

7 held for poaching Royal Bengal Tiger near Kaziranga

The Assam forest department’s search for suspected rhino poachers on Friday night led to the arrest of seven people who were in possession of skin and bones of a Royal Bengal Tiger, which they had killed near the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) recently.

The seven poachers were arrested near Kohora range of the park and revealed to the officials that they had killed the tiger in neighbouring Karbi Anglong district to smuggle its body parts.

“Based on the information that some rhino poachers were moving out of the park area, we stopped a vehicle and found tiger teeth with two persons. We nabbed them immediately and during questioning, they revealed that some body parts of the tiger were kept in another person’s home. We searched the house and arrested five persons. They had killed the tiger in Karbi Anglong districts and were involved in smuggling. It was a Royal Bengal Tiger,” Divisional Forest Officer of KNP, Rohini Ballav Saikia, told DH.

The skin and bones of a Royal Bengal Tiger seized from poachers. (Pic Assam forest department) 

The arrested persons were identified as Babu Teron, Joysing Bey, Dharam Sing Bey, Barlong Teron, Balbir Singh, Dilip Singh and Manjit Singh.

The officials suspected that the tiger could have strayed off Kaziranga to neighbouring Karbi Anglong district where it was killed by the poachers. According to a tiger census in 2017, the KNP, spread over an 860-square kilometre area in eastern Assam, had 104 tigers.

Poaching rhinos is a serious issue in Kaziranga but the killing of a Royal Bengal Tiger came as a shock for the forest personnel and conservationists.

Kaziranga, a Unesco World Heritage Site, enjoys the pride of housing the highest number of one-horned rhinos in the country - 2,413 rhinos were counted earlier this year.

But more than 120 rhinos have been killed since 2012 by an international gang of poachers, who take away the horns and sell them in the international markets, mainly in China and some other South East Asian countries.

Tiger body parts and rhino horns are believed to contain medicinal properties but experts have rejected such possibility saying it was merely a belief without any scientific proof.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox