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Poacher arrested bear CUBS SEIZED
Bear cubs between the devil and the deep canal! – RESCUED
18th Feb 2008
Karim Nagar District, Andhra Pradesh
Two young Sloth Bear cubs, both infants under 12 weeks of age, have been rescued from poachers by the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department and Wildlife S.O.S. The Sloth Bear cubs, (one male and one female) cubs, found in a severely traumatized and dehydrated condition, were rescued from a poacher-trader in Pedapalli region.
The poacher – trader Malang Shah, aged 23 years has been sent to Judicial Custody. The cubs are presently being taken care of at the Wildlife S.O.S – Bear Rescue Transit Facility at Hyderabad as per the directives of the First Class Magistrate at Pedapalli Courts (Karim Nagar District, Andhra Pradesh).
Barely 60 days after Wildlife S.O.S rescued a 2 week old from a poacher in Orissa, on the 15th February, 2008, Wildlife S.O.S’s Surveillance Network ‘Forestwatch’ (run in association with One Voice, France) received an intelligence report from a team member in Andhra Pradesh about two young bear cubs having been clandestinely brought into Karim Nagar district in the state. Soon after receiving the information, a decoy was sent in to confirm the information and a second informer was put on duty to ensure that the poacher in possession of the young bear cubs didn’t dispose them off, out of fear of being under the surveillance net.
Information about the presence of the cubs and their location at Karim Nagar was confirmed on the morning of 16th February. News that came alongside this information was that some buyers from neighbouring villages were expected to arrive on the 17th February morning to the trader’s house to purchase these cubs and possibly sell them off to middlemen for the bear paw soup trade which is a delicacy in some South East Asian countries. This information necessitated a prompt response from Wildlife S.O.S and Andhra Pradesh Forest Department and under the circumstances ahead, it was inevitable that the operation be carried off before daylight strikes on the 17th February.
Wildlife S.O.S relayed the intelligence received to the PCCF (Wildlife) & Chief Wildlife Warden, Andhra Pradesh – Mr. Hitesh Malhotra, IFS who immediately organized two teams of Forest Department personnel at Karim Nagar while keeping the details of the operation confidential. After having received confirmation of the necessary enforcement Support from the Chief Wildlife Warden, the 3 member Wildlife S.O.S Anti-poaching team reached Hyderabad on 16th night and proceeded to Karim Nagar (200 kilometers away) reaching at 3 am on 17th February where Mr. Rizwi, Conservator of Forests, Karim Nagar and DFOs – Mr. Raja Rao and Mr. S.K Gupta had a 12 member raiding party consisting of forest officers on call. A brief meeting later, a convoy of three vehicles with two jeeps belonging to Andhra Pradesh Forest Department and one with the Wildlife SOS Anti-poaching team made its way to Peddapali, the place where the poacher-trader was hiding in a hutment.
One km away from the location, all vehicles stopped, while a Wildlife S.O.S surveillance team went to ascertain the precise location and plan the modus-operandi of the execution of the seizure after examining the geographical terrain of the location. The hutment was precariously positioned beside a very small 7 feet wide jeep track with an open canal with flowing water running on the other side. “One wrong move and the poacher could easily dump the bear cubs into the canal to drown and destroy his evidence”, was the prime thought worrying the members of the Wildlife S.O.S Anti-poaching team. One surveillance vehicle was positioned strategically on the 7 feet wide road, while the other two vehicles stationed themselves 400 metres away from the spot. The raiding party swiftly but silently made their way to the hutment in the dark.
Upon reaching the hutment, the poacher was placed under arrest, while a swift search of his premises revealed two tiny bear cubs concealed in a basket inside a locked room. The cubs were dehydrated and undernourished condition.
The cubs along with the arrestee were taken to the Forest Department Headquarters in Karim Nagar and produced later in the local district Courts. Wildlife S.O.S Criminal Advocate Mr. S.N. Vashishth assisted in legal documentation of the case.
On interrogation of the poacher – Malang Shah, he confessed that he had purchased the cubs from a tribal two days back and was planning to sell them for Rs. 16,000 (USD 400 approx) in a day or two.
The Andhra Pradesh Forest Department Teams executing the seizure alongwith Wildlife S.O.S Anti-poching team were led by Mohd. Kadher Mohiuddin (FRO-Special Part, Jaghital, Karim Nagar-West Division) and Syed Maqsood Mohiuddin (FRO-Flying Squad, Special Party-Karim Nagar).
According to Hitesh Malhotra, Chief Wildlife Warden, “We will leave no stone unturned to ensure such offenders are punished. The offender shall be tried under various sections of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.”
Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder – Wildlife S.O.S who was involved in the operation said, “The exact region from which the Bear cubs had been poached is under investigation presently. They could have been poached from the Eastern Godavri region or from neighbouring forests in Karnataka”.
If convicted the poacher could go to jail for upto seven years.
For More information and pictures, please contact :
Vasudha Mehta, Communications Officer, Wildlife SOS
Mobile 09837099719 Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder – Wildlife SOS
Mobile 09810114563 Email – email@example.com
D 210, Defence Colony
New Delhi 110024, India
Email:wsos (at) vsnl (dot) com
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