Goa wildlife board to examine tiger poaching
15 Sep 2009, 1304 hrs IST, IANS
PANAJI: Goa forest minister Filipe Neri Rodrigues has said that the state wildlife board would look into a controversial forensic report of a suspected case of tiger poaching, the first in the state.
Rodrigues told reporters in Panaji Tuesday that the board, which is headed by Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, will decide the further course of action.
"We will seek the opinion of the state wildlife board before proceeding further on the tiger poaching issue," the minister said.
A controversial forensic report by the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India has said that the blood samples sent to them by the state forest department probing a tiger poaching case did not belong to a tiger.
Partial findings of the report were leaked to the media by the chief conservator of forests Shashi Kumar, who described the findings as 'preliminary' in nature, cautiously adding that the report was still being 'analysed'.
Wildlife activists and some forest department officials are now alleging that the report was rigged.
"I have seen the tiger remains myself. The samples should be sent to another laboratory and the matter handled in a transparent manner," Rajendra Kerkar, an activist, said.
Rodrigues said that considering the controversy that had arisen following the forensic report, the state wildlife board with an assorted representation of politicians, bureaucrats and wildlife officials would be the appropriate authority to decide a course of action.
"The board comprises of various representatives who are in a better position to decide on such issues," the forest minister said. He added that the board would also take a call on whether the samples should be sent for testing to another forensic facility.
The forest department has already arrested two people in connection with the tiger poaching episode, which occurred in February. The department, which initially denied the reports of poaching, swung into action only after a newspaper carried a photo of the slain tiger, which was snared and then shot dead by poachers.