Wildlife sleuths find China link thriving
Rahul Tripathi, TNN 21 November 2009, 05:41am IST
NEW DELHI: A probe into illegal wildlife trade after some poachers and their associates were nabbed recently has revealed they were involved in an international racket and smuggled animal parts to various countries, including China.
CBI recently arrested a poacher, Keru (30), who allegedly supplied two tiger skins to a group of seven people, reportedly led by Tashi Tshering. The seven were nabbed in Delhi and Nagpur in the first week of November.
Keru was arrested from Ballarshah in Maharastra. Sleuths said Keru, a member of Banwariya tribe, was involved in several cases of poaching. He was arrested in Mysore in 2002 and was convicted for two years. But after coming out of jail, he again started dealing in illegal wildlife trade. CBI officials said Keru sold two tiger skins to Tshering, the main supplier of tiger skins and bones to China, Tibet and western countries.
Tshering's interrogation revealed the animal parts were first sent to Nepal using land routes and from there smuggled into China and Tibet where pharmaceuticals companies used tiger bones for manufacturing aphrodisiac medicines. "A spotless tiger skin was sold for Rs 10 lakh,'' said a CBI official. He added a poacher is paid between Rs 75,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh for a one skin.
Based on information from the seven, the officers arrested another notorious poacher, Bheema, near Badarpur on Tuesday. "Bheema was also supplying tiger skin and body parts to Tshering. Currently he is in custody of Gurgaon Police and we will soon approach them, seeking his custodial interrogation,'' added an officer.
CBI arrested five persons on November 5. They were carrying two tiger skins and bones concealed in a cloth consignment from Nagpur. Sources said Sadhu Baderia, Ranjit Mangatram, Ramswaroop, Jogaram Charandas and Amit Singh were hiding in a tent near the Ballarshah railway station. Two tiger skins, about 39 kilograms of tiger bones and other body parts were seized from them, said a CBI official. Charandas and Amit were agents of Tshering. They were carrying Rs 1.5 lakh cash to buy animal parts, said officers.
Among the two skins that were seized, one was about seven feet in length. Experts said it came from a tigress. Another skin was over five feet in length. The police, on the instance of Tshering, also seized two leopard skins, seven otter skins and red sandalwood.
"We have identified few international buyers and are trying catch them. The tigress whose skin was seized from poachers was killed on October 21. The accused had put anti-odour powder on animal parts to conceal foul smell,'' added the officer.
A wildlife experts said the arrest would curb tiger poaching. Explaining the method of poaching, the expert said, "A good poacher always uses iron trap as bullet mark reduces the price of the skin. Kalya Bawaria, who was arrested in September 2005, was one of the notorious poachers who used to poach big cats using iron trap at Sariska Tiger Reserve.''