The Special Task Force (STF) flanked by forest personnel arrested a wildlife criminal with the seizure of the skin of RBT near Saluki Bridge in Boudh district on Tuesday. Besides the tiger skin, the hide of a leopard was also seized from the possession of the accused Himalaya Dash, the STF officials said on Wednesday.
It may be recalled here that the STF on 14 December last had made a seizure of the skin of a 7-feet-long RBT from Similipal tiger reserve. A 9-feet-long skin of RBT was also seized in Keonjhar district in April last year.
The RBT skin seized yesterday is being sent to Wildlife Institute of India for biological examination. The arrested accused was later remanded to judicial custody under Indian Penal Code sections 379/411/120(B) and section 51 of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, STF officials added.
The big cat census conducted in 2018 had put Odisha’s tiger population at 28. The population of royal Bengal tigers, listed as endangered species by the IUCN Red Data Book and enjoying protected status under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, has remained static and unchanged as per the last two censuses conducted by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Wildlife Institute of India.
As per the, All India Tiger Estimation Report of 2014 and 2018, the tigers’ population in Odisha stood at 28 and figure remained in the two census reports.
There is continued pressure due to human population interference into the tiger’s habitat as well as the loss of larger prey species of the tiger. The poaching of tigers for skins is being perpetrated as the teeth, bone and other body parts are used in Oriental medicines. Other factors that threaten tigers are introduced diseases from domestic animals.