A 24 year-old man and his accomplice were arrested by the Vellore Forest Division for advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp groups that tiger cubs, including white tigers, were available for a sum of ₹25 lakh onwards.
Based on an alert from the Chennai-based wildlife crime control bureau, officials led by the District Forest Officer (DFO) Prince Kumar investigated for a week and narrowed down the suspects a few days ago.
Initial investigations revealed that D. Parthiban, a native of Arani in Tiruvannamalai district, was living with his wife in Vellore for the past few years. He got acquainted with K. Tamil, who runs a pet shop at Ambattur in Chennai, when he went there many months ago. Since then, they used to travel together and attend animal and birds exhibitions in various places of the State. During such visits, they got in touch with owners of pets, brought pets from them before and sold them online at higher rates.
Recently, based on Tamil’s idea, Parthiban started to advertise the sale of tiger cubs. He also gave his mobile number. Under the guise of prospective buyers, local forest officials contacted him. However, Prathiban said the cubs had been handed over to authorities at the Vandalur zoo. Upon checking with the zoo authorities, officials found that no such cubs were given to them.
Based on mobile tower signals and field inputs, forest officials arrested Parthiban and Tamil. As the animal comes under the scheduled species, the duo were booked under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.
Further investigation is on.