Five poachers from Kerala were arrested in the O’Valley forest range in the Gudalur forest division on Wednesday.
A team of forest staff were on a routine patrol when they saw a vehicle parked by the side of the road at Bharathiar Nagar in O’Valley. When they searched the vehicle, they found hidden compartments where the accused had hidden weapons used to hunt animals. Weapons included sharp knives and also torches and other equipment, officials stated.
All five men arrested by the forest department were identified as individuals from Malappuram in Kerala. The five men were identified as R. Zamsheer, 37, Moidheen Kutty, 30 Mohammed Anees, 33, Jibin John, 30, and T. Jobin, 29. The sixth accused, identified as U. Nazeer, fled from the scene after the five accused got into a scuffle with the forest department staff. He is currently absconding and forest department officials are on the lookout for the accused.
Forest department officials believe the men were habitual offenders, possibly hunting wildlife and selling the meat to contacts in Kerala.