The year 2017 began with a spate of wildlife crime from across the country. Multiple cases of poaching were reported, as were seizures of protected and vulnerable species – including hundreds of turtles in West Bengal and sambars in Karnataka.
Eleven men with the carcasses of two adult sambars were arrested by the Forest Department from Bhadra Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, Sharna Basapta, the state’s Assistant Conservator of Forest told IANS.
The hunting was done in the national park, one adult male and female were killed and the hunters chopped off the head of one of the deer claiming ‘halaal’. We arrested 11 men who hail from Bengaluru and seized three vehicles.Sharna Basapta, Assistant Conservator of Forest, Karnataka
Techies from Bengaluru were among the arrested men.
The Indian sambar is a vulnerable species and is listed under Schedule 3 of the India's Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) 1972.
In a major catch, 1,625 Indian Softshell Turtles were seized from Burdwan district in West Bengal by the state police and four people were arrested.
The seizures were made late on 1 January. The animals and the accused were handed over the state forest department.
This is the second such seisure of Indian Softshell Turtles in the state. On 29 December, 1,850 tutles were seized in the same district.Sujit Kumar Das, ADFO Burdwan Forest Division
Both animals and poachers arrested on the two days prima facie belonged to the state of Uttar Pradesh and the consignment was scheduled to reach Basirhat in North 24 Parganas District.
Out of 1,625 turtles, only 1,105 were alive. Of the 1,859 turtles seized on 29 December, 450 turtles died.Sujit Kumar Das, ADFO Burdwan Forest Division
The Indian or Gangetic Softshell Turtles are vulnerable and are given a high degree of protection under Schedule 1 of the WPA.
In a first this year, a leopard skin was seized from Odisha on 1 January, the Wildlife Protection Society of India informed.
Leopard and tiger poaching cases remained at an all-time high in 2015, with at least 436 leopards killed and 154 reported cases of hunting or skin and claws seizures.
"The hunt must have been done previously. The skin was seized from Mayurbhanj district of Odisha," Tito Joseph of WPSI told IANS.
Meanwhile, near Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, a carcasses, which appeared to be that of a blackbuck, was discovered by the state forest department.
It seemed to be of a blackbuck which was hunted down, but to be sure, we have sent the remains to Jabalpur for testing.Forest Official
In another incident, 14 kg of deer meat was seized from a person from Seony Division of Madhya Pradesh on 1 January.
In Rajasthan, a porcupine and two partridges were poached from Jodhpur district while six peacocks were poached from Bhilwada district, the WPSI informed.
Meanwhile, 15 men, all tourists, were arrested with weapons and meat while camping in the protected forest area from Lansdowne Forest Division in Uttarakhand. The meat was sent to the lab for testing and their weapons and vehicles were confiscated.