Jun 2, 2015
LUCKNOW: A notorious poacher, wanted in a number of wildlife crimes, was arrested from Bijnor in Corbett landscape around Saturday midnight. Saeed, a resident of Bijnor, was arrested in a joint operation by UP Police STF, UP forest department and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), New Delhi. He confessed to being active in Kalagarh and Bijnor in the south of Corbett national park as the two areas were ‘low on vigil’. Saeed confessed to be working in collusion with wildlife criminals in Uttrakhand, Delhi, MP and Haryana and also forest ranks. The WCCB had arrested a forest guard, Rakesh, resident of Barhapur, Bijnor, who alerted Saeed about forest department’s efforts to get him. The arrested poacher might also have a role in recent tiger killings reported from Pilibhit tiger reserve in January. The arrested smuggler confessed to have poached tigers using ‘poisoned kills’ — after eating which the big cat dies — iron-traps and sticks. An iron trap makes the animal immobile and he dies without food and water while a stick is forced down the trapped animal’s neck to stifle it. The WCCB had sought the cooperation of the UP STF in arresting Saeed, who is part of an inter-state gang of wildlife criminals and was declared wanted along with another poacher Shakil in September 2013 in a case registered in with Dariyaganj police, New Delhi. “Shakil was arrested but Saeed was absconding,” said additional superintendent of police, STF, UP, Arvind Chaturvedi.
The bureau was trying to catch hold of Saeed for past almost two years but in vein. “We found him quite active in poaching and in touch with people in Samalkha, Haryana. He was also collecting red sandalwood from Kotdwar in Uttaranchal. He was in touch with traders in Delhi and also talking to people in south India as per his call details,” said the official. During interrogation, he revealed his links with Bahelias (tribals who can kill tiger with ease and precision) in Haridwar and Dehradun and Gujjars in Samalkha, Haryana. In 2013, nine tiger deaths were confirmed in three tiger reserves in Nagpur – Melghat, Tadoba and Pench. Delhi police arrested Naresh and Sarju and recovered six of those tiger skins from them. The two accused confessed to have bought the skins, tiger teeth, nails and bones from Saeed in Barhapur, Bijnor in September 2013 for Rs 6 lakh. Saeed was made an accused in the case along with Sarju and Naresh and declared wanted by WCCB. On being arrested, Saeed confessed to have sold tiger skins to Naresh and Sarju and said he had put a “poisoned kill” for the tiger and after removing skin, nails, teeth and bones, he buried the flesh.
Bijnor has become a haven for wildlife criminals:
STF has been arresting poachers from Bijnor every year. In 2012, STP arrested five poachers from Bijnor and recovered a tiger skin, four leopard skins, 2.4 kg tiger bones, two clamps to trap animals, five mobile phones and an Indica car. In 2013, 12 poachers were arrested from Bijnor and two tiger skins (which were of a recent kill) 63 kg tiger bones, instruments to remove hide, 149kg tiger flesh (it was fresh), sticks with blood imprints and an SUV were recovered by STF. Unni river that flows through makes it a zone of high tiger movement. Out of 221 sq km of Bijnor forest, 80 sq km has been declared as Amangarh tiger reserve but tigers are not protected
Worry is the repeat offenders like Mohammad Umar who was arrested in 2012 and then in 2013. “Repeat offenders are getting into organised gangs,” said the official. Forest department should pursue cases against wildlife offenders and plead for a stricter punishment against them.
Role of the forest department:
Forest department is yet to get on alert while tigers continue to die in protected areas of the state. In January, nine poachers were arrested from Pilibhit tiger reserve. It is an unsafe zone for tigers due to proximity to Indo-Nepal border. WCCB had alerted UP STF then also. Like Bijnor, Pilibhit tigers are also killed by locals, mainly the herd-raising tribes called `gaddis’ who are provided help and expertise by poachers in Uttrakhand. Besides, another tribe — Bawariyas from Samalkha town in Panipat of Haryana have also been caught poaching tigers in tiger reserves in UP.
As posted in Timesofindia.indiatimes.com