Kali Tiger Reserve officials have arrested five habitual wildlife offenders and recovered a huge cache of wildlife articles from them on Friday.
Acting on a tip-off, the officials raided the house of Sudhakar V Mahale at Shivapur village in Gunda Range on the border of tiger reserve and Yellapur forest division, and recovered four claws of leopards, meat of sambar deer, pelts of two monitor lizards, beak of stork-billed kingfisher along with country-made gun, ammunition, snares and country bombs.
Based on the information given by Sudhakar, the officials arrested Narayan T Mahale, Raghunath T Mahale, Maruthi K Lakolli and Shankar N Mahale. Speaking to DH, Canara Circle Chief Conservator of Forests Vasanth Reddy said the officials conducted the raids over two days and recovered a huge cache of wildlife articles from them. “We have recovered four-five claws and the samples have been sent to the forensic lab to ascertain whether they belong to leopard or tiger,” he said.
Sources in the KTR informed DH that the gang of five are involved in several poaching cases and their network runs deep, including political nexus.
KTR field director Nilesh Shinde said investigations are on. The five have been sent to judicial custody and the intelligence wing of the department is working on to gather more information regarding their involvement in other cases. However, he denied recovery of any tiger claws.
Reddy said that instructions have been issued to officials concerned to make sure that thorough investigations are done and none of the accused are spared.
(Published 11 November 2023, 00:24 IST)