Assam, Bengal forest officials arrest five for killing tiger

The Royal Bengal tiger’s territory straddled the India-Bhutan border

Forest officials of two neighbouring States, Assam and West Bengal, came together to catch five persons for killing a Royal Bengal tiger whose territory straddled the India-Bhutan border.

The tiger was among an estimated 20 that had a dual identity; it carried the MNP 059M tag as an ‘Indian’ tiger and TMT 063M as an ‘international’ tiger.

MNP expands to Manas National Park and TMT to Transboundary Manas Tiger covering about 400 sq km along the border between India and Bhutan. While MNP in western Assam measures 500 sq km, the adjoining Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan measures 1,000 sq km.

Officer’s tip-off

“We received a tip-off from a range officer in West Bengal about smugglers having hidden the tiger’s skin, teeth and bones in Runikhata area of [Assam’s] Chirang district. We picked up the lead and arrested five people from Srirampur on the Assam-West Bengal border last week,” a forest officer in MNP said.

The tiger was killed along the India-Bhutan border a month ago.

West Bengal forest officials had come to know that the poachers had contacted potential buyers in northern West Bengal or Nepal and wanted to sell the skin for ₹15 lakh. Posing as buyers, they got in touch with the poachers who agreed to meet them at Srirampur.

“The West Bengal forest officers informed us and we laid in wait for the poachers to come to sell the tiger body parts to us,” the MNP officer said.

The five — Prabhat Narzary, Ishaq Narzary, Dimbeshwar Roy, Binadeep Roy, and Bibalan Narzary — did not carry the tiger skin with them but revealed where they had hidden it as well as other body parts of the carnivore.

More vulnerable

“Tigers of Indian part of Manas are more vulnerable than those in Bhutan that can prey at 4,000m above sea level too. The transboundary tigers are equally vulnerable, and the poachers are usually from Assam,” said Firoz Ahmed of Assam-based green group Aaranyak.

The Transboundary Manas Conservation Authority, an India-Bhutan joint initiative, had estimated 18 transboundary tigers during 2015-16 fiscal, 17 during 2016-17, and 20 during 2017-18.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 11:38:13 PM |

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