UP high on wildlife crime list

With over 300 cases registered last year, Uttar Pradesh (UP) remains high on the list of wildlife crimes in the country. 

According to official statistics, as many as 25 tigers were killed by poachers in the state in the past 10 years. Ace Indian golfer Jyoti Randhawa was arrested a few months back on charges of poaching in the Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary. A jungle fowl and an animal hide, suspected to be of sambhar, was recovered from his possession.

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Besides tigers and sambhars, another animal that is targeted is the owl. Hundreds of owls were killed in the state, especially during the Diwali festival, by tantriks (exorcists). “Owls are in high demand during Diwali. Some people think that sacrificing the owls will bring them prosperity,’’ said Prof A K Sharma, a former faculty in the Department of Zoology at Lucknow University. UP has a forest cover of 6.88 per cent and has one National Park and 23 wildlife sanctuaries.

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