India: Six-Member Tiger Killing Gang in Custody

Six members of a tiger trafficking gang were arrested in the Biligiri Ranganathittu Tiger Reserve.

Forest officials at Biligiri Ranganathittu Tiger (BRT) Reserve have apprehended six tiger traffickers — including one woman — believed to be from Haryana in Northern India.

Five skinning knives and three steel jaw traps were recovered from the gang, who were identified by the Deccan Herald as Jagadish, Jalarsingh, Lakumchand, Rothas, Bimal Devi and Pappu, residents of Suduri village in the Panchkula district.

In addition, a booklet containing telephone numbers was confiscated; the suspects were not carrying mobile phones.

One of the suspects reportedly told forest officials that the traps are activated at night.

Once a tiger is caught in the jaw trap, we pierce its eyes with a sharp object and later smash its head with a stick.

Security in BRT Reserve was stepped up after forest guards discovered traps at Gundal reservoir in the tiger reserve.

The penalty for crimes committed inside the core area of a tiger reserve starts with a mandatory prison term of three years, with a maximum of seven years, plus a Rs. 50,000 (US $896) fine up to Rs. 2 lakhs (US $3,586).

A second conviction warrants at least seven years imprisonment, with a fine of Rs. 5 lakhs (US $8,940) up to Rs. 50 lakhs (US $89,597).

Unfortunately, the penalties are rarely enforced.

According to the Wildlife Protection Society of India‘s wildlife crime database of more than 900 tiger-related court cases, only 61 people have been convicted for killing a tiger or trading in tiger parts.

Most of the cases are still pending.

Meanwhile, China continues to keep tiger traffickers in business.

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Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, and I work as an independent Wildlife Trade and Communication Design Consultant. I have journeyed to the streets of Hanoi to research the illegal wildlife trade, and to the rainforests of Sumatra and Java to document the world’s rarest rhinos. I am a Co-Chair of the SSN Pangolin Working Group. At CITES meetings, I collaborate with colleagues from around the world to lobby in favor of protecting endangered species. I am a Wildlife Trade and Trafficking Consultant for the upcoming documentary The Price, the host of Behind the Schemes and author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine. I enjoy desert gardening, herping, reading, designing, and walking with my dogs.