8-year-old, grandmom held poaching big cats
Arun Kumar David, TNN 24 September 2009, 12:05am IST
BETTIAH: Eight-year-old into tiger poaching. Sounds incredible, but forest guards patrolling the Valmikinagar Tiger Reserve in Bihar's West Champaran district on Wednesday arrested the boy along with his sexagenarian grandmother while they were in readiness to poach a big cat.
Mahavir and his grandmother Sundar Devi were caught from Manguraha jungles, adjacent to the Indo-Nepal border, where the duo had laid an iron trap for unsuspecting big cats. Sundar is the wife of notorious poacher Dhariya Singh who is in Bettiah jail in connection with a case of a tigress skin recovery in 2006, divisional forest officer (DFO) S Chandrashekhar told TOI.
It was after the seizure of the big cat's carcass three years ago that the use of iron trap for poaching purposes came to light, the DFO said and added this has been the modus operandi adopted by a nomadic tribe from Haryana, to catch their prey in the jungles of Valmikinagar.
Dhariya also belongs to this tribe and heads a gang of poachers whose operations were spread in forests along the Bihar-Nepal border, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and UP. After he was nabbed near Katni in Madhya Pradesh and the carcass of a bear seized from his possession, Dhariya was brought on remand to Bettiah.
His Haryana-based kin came to West Champaran apparently to line up legal aid for his release. "The family's women and children, meanwhile, took to the jungles when we pounced on them,'' the DFO said, fearing that three to four groups of Dhariya's kin active in the area.
Project Tiger officials said Dhariya's family is part of a cross-border syndicate of poachers dealing in wildlife parts.