Cops suspended for getting too close to tigress

June 16th, 2010 - 8:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Nagpur, June 16 (IANS) Four policemen who ventured dangerously close to a tigress in a wildlife sanctuary in Maharashtra were Wednesday suspended for flouting forest and wildlife regulations, an official said.
The four policemen - head constables Rajesh There, Ramu Bawne, Ghanshyam Ingle and vehicle driver Ranjit Dhurve - have been charged with flouting wildlife laws on Sunday while they were in the Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhandara district, around 200 km from here.

They would be charged with violating forest and wildlife laws, including carrying weapons inside the protected sanctuary, entering the park without proper authorization, alighting from the vehicle, and stepping close to protected and endangered creatures, said Deputy Conservator of Forests and Wildlife (Gondia) Madan Kulkarni.

“We have registered a complaint against the violators and shall take necessary action to punish them,” Kulkarni told IANS.

The four, all attached to the Bhandara district police headquarters, left their official vehicles and went very close to a tigress in an attempt to get a picture on their mobile phone cameras, the official said.

The tigress was resting near a waterhole around 7 a.m. when around a dozen policemen came near the spot in two vehicles. Four of the group disembarked along with their weapons and cameras and moved towards the tigress.

When they did not heed her angry warnings, she roared loudly and jumped towards them. Shaken, they scampered back to their vehicles.

A group of tourists, who were present at the spot, complained to forest officials about the incident.

Some of the policemen belonged to the security detail provided to Justice R.M. Borde of the Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench), who had gone for sightseeing inside the park.

A Bhandara-based wildlife NGO, Wild Watch, has meanwhile written a letter to the forest department, seeking stringent action against the policemen.

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