A gang of 11 persons including Bengaluru techies have been arrested for poaching sambars as part of New Year’s Eve celebrations, while one person is absconding.
Forest officials caught 11 persons red-handed at the Tanegebailu Range in Bhadra Tiger Reserve for killing two sambars (a deer species categorised as vulnerable in India for its declining numbers). The accused have been booked under the Wildlife Protection Act. The carcasses of the animals and the weapons used for hunting them have been seized, The New Indian Express reported.
The report states that eight of the accused are from Bengaluru. The forest officials produced all the 11 offenders before the Tarikere court on Monday. Rafiq Ahmed (44), a real estate agent from Richmond Town, who is a sharpshooter, is absconding.
The arrested accused include Mohammed Sameer Ahmed (29), a Karnataka state Rifle Association member; Akhtar Ahmed (67), coffee estate owner from Saklespur; Mohammed Rizwan (46), a timber business owner and planter from Sakleshpura; Syed Ahmed (30), an environmental engineer; Meer Nakeeb Ali (18), a PU student at Jain College; Meer Nayyer Ali (30) of Global Travels Pvt Ltd; Meer Mudassar Ali (23), an employee at Infosys, and the other four are from Attigundi village, Chikkamagaluru district - Aruna (23), Harish (25), Chetan (26) and Prasanna (18), TNIE report states.
One of the animals was found skinned and chopped by forest officials who intercepted two four-wheelers carrying the animal carcasses, a Times of India report states.
The gang went on a hunt at a coffee estate close to the reserve to ring in the New Year in style. A gang of four locals helped the techies in spotting the deer as they knew of the pockets where the sambar could be found, the ToI report says.
The gang identified one such pocket near Netheechoka and shot two sambar, a stag and a deer. The deer was skinned and chopped while the stag’s carcass was intact when forest officials apprehended the gang, it adds.
Forest officials told ToI that they were tipped off by locals who intercepted the gang at the entrance of the forest on Sunday at around 5am.