Two tiger poachers have been caught in Mansar, India. They are allegedly part of the Baheliya gang, a group of thirty individuals who have claimed to have killed five tigers in the last month. Their illegal poaching activity is compounded by selling the skins to a trader in northern India. There is also an illegal trade in tiger body parts for residents of China and Southeast Asia who very wrongly believe they have ‘medicinal’ properties. Of course, these silly beliefs are nothing more than very old superstitions, but they have deadly effects for tigers (and rhinos).
The wild tiger population in India has decreased by over 90% due to human activities such as poaching and habitat destruction.
‘The poachers have told us that their gang killed five tigers in Vidarbha region over the last one month, and sold the skins and bones eight days ago. We intercepted the gang on the basis of call details records (CDRs) and Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) inputs. We nabbed them while they were striking a deal for a skin. No skins have been seized from them as yet,’ said Crime Branch PI RM Pali. (Source: Times of India)
The two poachers that were caught are just eighteen and twenty years old. One of them tried to elude the police by hiding in a well, but was eventually caught.
Some had said a potential solution to the dwindling tiger population problem is tourism revenues, but critics have pointed out that even viewing tigers from some distance still encroaches upon their habitat and disturbs them.
Recently a new park was created in India to try to protect wild tigers. Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary is about the size of New York city.
Another strategy is to collect and preserve their genetic material in order to attempt captive breeding programs. These initiatives sound good on paper, but when implemented in reality, they can be very difficult, depending on the species and many factors like human expertise levels. They also can be very costly.