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Tiger-poaching gang sighted in Nilgiris

The Times of India
New Delhi
11 Jul 2017

CHENNAI: A notorious gang of tiger poachers from Madhya Pradesh has been sighted in the Nilgiris. Their movement near forest areas in the district has forest department officials on high alert.

An official said they sighted the gang members in June end in Emerald area in Udhagamandalam. When they intercepted the gang members, officials found that they were staying in a dilapidated building. They told officials that their women go into the town seeking alms. Though no incidents of poaching involving the gang has been reported so far, observation by field operatives of TRAFFIC, the wildlife crime detection wing of the World Wide Fund for Nature - India (WWF-I) revealed that the gang, could have poached at least one tiger and have traded both its skin and body parts, said the haring details of the gang`s modus operandi with TOI, a senior wildlife officer said the women from the gang set up shops on the fringes of the forest and act as a shield. Men go inside the forest and stay in caves to track the movement of tigers.

The men are daring enough to spend even a week in inaccessible areas to track the movements of tigers and leopards, the officer said. The gang also has links with wildlife traders both nationally and internationally, the officer added.

Another officer said the gang members were experts in killing carnivores, especially tigers. It is difficult to trace how they kill and dispose of the skin and other body parts of a tiger, he sai. The existing expertise with the forest officials was not sufficient to track the gang`s movement, adding that various enforcing agencies will have to work in coordination to track its movements, he added

Another officer said the gang could have reached Mudumalai through Sathyamangalam. They could go to Chamarajanagar in Karnataka, as wildlife trophies from the gang usually go through this route, the officer said.