Goa forest officials track down poached tiger’s remains

June 2nd, 2009 - 7:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, June 2 (IANS) Goa forest department officials Tuesday finally tracked down the charred remains of a tiger which was poached in the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary.
Sub divisional forest officer Subhash Henrigues told IANS that they had recovered partially burnt remains of the tiger, including several bones, distinct to the animal.

“The poachers had tried to smash the main thigh bone of the tiger, to put us off track. We can confirm without a doubt that a tiger was indeed poached in the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary,” Henrigues said.

“We had narrowed down the area in which we suspected the animal was disposed off Monday. Today we used the help of police sniffer dogs to zero in on the scattered remains because the incident happened nearly three months ago and it was difficult to identify the exact location,” Henrigues said, adding that the process was completed Tuesday.

The officer was leading a team of forest department officials who were scouring the jungles in north Goa for nearly a month since a photograph of a poached tiger appeared in a national daily in April.

Wildlife activists had accused the forest department top brass of being hand in glove with the politicians and the powerful mining lobby, which they alleged were interested in covering up the tiger killing. “The mining lobby is worried about the area being demarcated as a tiger reserve, which will ensure that mining for iron ore in the area will have to stop,” said wildlife activist Rajendra Kerkar, who first brought the tiger poaching to light in April.

Lending weight to Kerkar’s fears were statements made by central wildlife officials who claimed that the Goa forest department did not even intimate them about the tiger poaching incident.

Forest department officials, who visited the crime scene told IANS, that the tiger had in fact been shifted from the spot where it was killed and then hacked and buried. “It cannot have been done by one or two men. It would take more than one person to heave an animal of that size,” officials said, adding that the animal was carried nearly 100m from the site where it was killed.

“The poachers had trapped it in a cable snare and then shot it,” officials said. The body parts and bones of the tiger have been sealed and will be sent for forensic analysis. Two persons, including a former listed poacher, have already been arrested in connection with the poaching, but are presently out on bail.

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