By Steffi Joseph
Delhi, 23 August: In a historic and landmark judgment issued by the Karnatak High Court, six tiger poachers including a woman belonging to the Bawaria Tribe from Kalka in Haryana have been convicted and sentenced to 3 years in jail.
The combined and persistent efforts over a 13 month period of the Karnataka Forest Department with assistance from Wildlife SOS, a New Delhi based Wildlife Conservation NGO resulted in this conviction.
The six professional tiger poachers from Kalka in Haryana were arrested red handed with jaw traps in BRT Tiger Reserve in Kollegal District of Karnataka in July 2012.
On expressing his happiness, GS Prabhu, IFS- PCCF (Wildlife and Chief Wildlife Warden), Karnataka Forest Department said, “This is a very positive development. Such landmark judgments and convictions against the poachers will serve to send a strong message to poachers and work as a deterrent. We will work around the clock to protect tigers and wildlife in our forests and poachers will nto get away easily.
Range Forest Officer, BRT Tiger Reserve, Mr. Boriah said, “Three jaw traps planted for trappig tigers were recovered from the core are of the tiger reserve where the poachers had been camping. Four more jaw traps along with skinning knives, nets and other weapons were recovered from Bawaria tent of the poachers outside the forest. The investigation officer was Assistant Conservator of Forests, Mr. Sridhar.”
Out of the six poachers convicted, accused Jagdish and Pappu have to pay a fine of 10,000 rupees each in addition to serving the three year jail sentence.
Jagdish Bawaria is the nephew of the dreaded tiger poacher Bhima Bawariya who was arrested earlier this year in Gurgoan in a joint operation by Wildlife SOS, CBI, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and the Haryana Forest Department. One tiger skin, a tiger skeleton, ivory and live turtles were recovered from Bhima.
Kartick Satyanarayan, CEO of Wildlife SOS said, “This is a landmark judgment where the Honorable court has see the threat to the tigers from such poachers and their jaw traps. This judgment sets a very good precedence for the future of tigers in India. We are grateful to the senior officer of the State of Government of Karnatak like Mr. Kaushik Mukherjee and the PCCF (WL) and Chief Wildlife Warden who gave this case and the investigation officers much needed support. Wildlife SOS runs an anti-poaching unit called Forest Watch which works undercover to gather intelligence to bust poahing gangs like the above.”