Mar 23, 2015
PILIBHIT: Joint teams of special task force and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) claim to have unearthed a racket run by the wives of notorious poachers in Pilibhit tiger reserve (PTR) with the arrest of a local woman on Sunday morning. Batoon Begum, in her forties, is wife of Naushe, a local poacher who was arrested in January following an alert from Nepal about his role in killing of two tigers in PTR in 2013, forest officials said. According to officials, an aide of poachers, who was arrested on March 15, disclosed existence of a racket run by their housewives, during interrogation. According to him, the women, who have mostly not been on the radar of forest officials, desiccated hides and carried body parts to the sale points. DP Singh, sub-divisional officer in PTR, told TOI that Batoon Begum’s cellphone was put on surveillance following the disclosure. Joint teams of STF and WCCB detected some certain leads about her active participation in illegal TRADE of animal hides and body parts in national as well as international market, said Singh. It also came to light that most deals were struck with involvement of poachers in Nepal who acted as intermediaries. In January, Batoon Begum’s husband was nabbed along with seven other poachers following arrest of two poachers from Uttar Pradesh in Nepal with 37 kg of tiger bones and skin.
The two had confessed to have poached tigers in Pilibhit. The Nepal police had then informed National Tiger Conservation Authority, which told this to Pilibhit forest officials. After which, eight poachers were arrested and sizeable quantity of tiger bones, teeth and body parts was recovered from them. On coordination with Nepal authorities, Singh said officials of both the countries are pursuing bilateral cooperation to annihilate wildlife crime. Pilibhit, which shares a porous border with Nepal, has seen worst crime against tigers. High human interference and proximity to Nepal makes it most unsafe for big cats. Since November 2013, at least six tigers have been found poisoned in Pilibhit. Before this, in May 2012, two tigers were poisoned in Pilibhit within 24 hours. The culprits were later nabbed. In February 2009, a young tigress was shot down by forest department in Faizabad. The big cat had strayed out of Pilibhit forests and had turned a man-eater.