Thursday, 3 May 2012

Two tigers caught in poachers' traps in India

One tiger dies, a second badly injured
May 2012. Two tigers were caught in steel traps set by professional tiger poachers in a heart-rending incident that took place in Palasgaon Range in Maharashtra. One tiger died and the other has been rescued by the Forest Department but has serious injuries.
Clubbed to death
The scene of the crime was a small pond in scrub forest, only 2.5 km from the nearest village Gondmohadi. The Forest Department had been setting up camera traps there to monitor a tigress with her two cubs. One evening the guards noticed a young male tiger lying by the pool. It later transpired that it was caught in a trap and it appears that it was clubbed to death by the poachers.
Second tiger caught
The guards then noticed a second tiger, presumed to be the mother, caught in a trap on the opposite side of the bund. One of the guards got his foot caught in a third steel trap but managed to get out of the device by removing his shoe. The poachers had ringed the waterhole with the tiger traps. More forest staff soon arrived but they could do little to help. A third tiger which was lurking in the vicinity, menacingly snarled and charged at the rescue party in the fast fading light.
Large male tiger
Senior forest officers and two personnel from the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) rushed to the spot. Finally, at 3:15 am, nearly 8 hours after the trapped tigers were first seen, the forest officers managed to dart the trapped tiger that was still alive. To everyone's surprise it turned out to be a large male tiger. The tiger was badly injured; three of the toes on its front leg had been torn off and its foot was fractured.
WPSI is now pulling out all stops to assist the Forest Department in its investigation to nab the culprits. Coming only a few days before the First Stocktaking Conference to review implementation of The Global Tiger Recovery Program in New Delhi from 15-17 May, this distressing incident illustrates that tiger poaching continues to be a major threat to the future of wild tigers.

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