Smuggling threatens big cats


While efforts are under way to protect rare species of striped tigers all over the world, the seizure of a large cache of hides of big cats in the far-west of late signals that the animals are in danger.

Seizure of tiger hides by a team of Regional Investigation Bureau deployed from the far-west regional police office Dipayal has revealed the challenge that efforts to conserve of big cats faces.

After the team arrested a group of smugglers for smuggling organs, hides and skins of leopards and other animals, the threat to big cats and other wild life has come to the fore.

A team led by SI Birendra Johari seized three sets of large cats’ skin and 62 kg of hide from different places in Kanchanpur towards the end of last fiscal.

Police have arrested five persons including three Indian nationals for their involvement in smuggling. The same team had arrested one person and seized skins and hides of leopards from Baitadi.

The seizure of skin and hides of tigers and leopard from the land bordering India reveals that people from both countries are active in smuggling.

Nepalis interrogated by police have said they are just porters. They told police that a porter was paid up to one lakh Indian rupees  for carrying the hides and skins from Nepal to India.

SI Johari said that a big network of smugglers was involved in smuggling hides and skins.

“A small group of individuals cannot smuggle body parts. A large group must have been involved”, Johari added.

Police said various people are involved in smuggling and transporting hides, making it difficult for law enforcing agencies to track them down.

DFO had felicitated SI Johari in recognition of his contribution to control smuggling.

If found guilty, a smuggler will be handed a jail sentence from 5 to 15 years and a fine of Rs 50,000 to 100,000 or both.