After two tigers were killed in Telangana in less than a month, the State Forest Protection Committee has decided to set up State Tiger Protection Force (STPF) to prevent poaching of the big cats, which has been continuing unabated.
Officials told TNM that that 110 personnel – including three forest range officers, 81 guards and 26 forest watchers – will be deputed in Kawal and Amrabad tiger reserves. The expenditure of this STPF would be shared by the Centre and the state of Telangana in the ratio of 60:40.
Speaking about the progress of the STPF, principal chief conservator of forests, PK Jha told TNM, “We are sending a proposal to the state government, seeking their permission and revenue for constituting the STPF.” He said that the 110 personnel to be deputed in Kawal and Amrabad will be armed.
On January 24, wildlife activists from Tiger Hunting End Association (THEA) in a decoy operation helped officials arrest the poachers, who had killed a young four-year-old tiger and attempted to sell its skin in Mandamarri, Mancherial district. This tiger, named Baahubali 3 because of his weight, had travelled to the state from Maharashtra and was poached within a month of its arrival. The tiger’s movement was captured in Khanapur earlier in December.
After taking the poachers into detention, officials found the tiger’s carcass in Shivaram Crocodile Wildlife sanctuary. Nine poachers were identified and five of them were arrested. Officials said that the tiger was electrocuted to death.
Earlier on January 5, officials from the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau seized a tiger skin along with an NGO based on a tip-off in Ichoda, Adilabad district, while it was being transported. Officials found that the tiger was killed in Kawal tiger reserve.
Meanwhile, the National Tiger Conservation Authority has taken serious note of the poachings of tigers and leopards in Telangana. They are also contemplating to send a senior officer to ascertain if the state forest department has implemented all the safety measures to prevent poaching of tigers.