Poachers back in the Nilgiris
Forest officials in the Nilgiris seized a ‘fresh’ tiger skin, on a tip-off, from a four member gang in the Sigur forest area, near Anaikatty, officials said. District forest officer (north) K Soundarapandian, who is investigating the seizure along with Mudumalai Tiger Reserve field director Rajiv K Srivasatava, said five of the seven suspects were produced in court and remanded in custody. The arrested five were identified as P Thakkan (35), H Basavaraj (40), G Mari (28), S Ramalingam (40) and A Manikandan (36). Two others were still being questioned. “After this incident, security will be tightened and surveillance teams in the forests will be put on alert. As the last tiger poaching incident was reported in 2007, these incidents are only sporadic,” said Soundarapandian. A three-year-old tiger was poached in Devala near Gudalur in 2007. The recent tiger census held in the Nilgiris was very encouraging. While the tiger population in the country is on the decline, the big cat has been found to be thriving in the Nilgiris. Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in Nilgiris district alone accounts for 62, with a lower limit off 44 and upper limit of 80 tigers. The region has a good population of tigers as Mudumalai is contiguous with Bandipur and Nagarhole (Karnataka) and Wayanad (Kerala). Also, at least 10 tigers have been directly sighted in the neighbouring Sathyamangalam forest division after decades.