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Three leopard skins seized in Uttarakhand

The Pioneer, New Delhi, 11th May, 2013

Three large leopard skins measuring between six feet to eight feet in length have been seized in Uttarakhand on Friday. With this a total of 20 seizures of leopard skins  have been made in the State alone so far this year which is much higher than the seizure made in the whole country put together. More than 40 poachers have been nabbed in the State since the beginning of this year.

Uttarakhand has the highest cases of leopard mortalities — including poaching. According to data compiled from Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), total of 33 seizures of leopard skins have been made from across the country, this year of which 20 are from Uttarakhand alone. Total of 25 leopards have been poached in the State so far.

The seizures have been made by the police from Haridwar district. Two persons have been arrested in this connection. According to Chief Wildlife Warden SS Sharma, coordination with the police has been strengthened in the seizure operations, a number of vulnerable sites have been identified in the State.

These include Pithoragarh, the wildlife crime capital of the State, stretching for nearly 120 km across the borders of Nepal, besides Almora, Bageshwar and Uttarkashi etc. The State has put up a Special Task Force comprising intelligence network and front line forest personnel for action. While the border areas are also guarded by BSF and SSB the open river areas in particular are sensitive, he added.

Appreciating the efforts of the state in controlling poaching, sources in Wildlife Crime Control Bureau said, such actions against poachers for instance in Uttarakhand, Assam or the latest initiative in Madhya Pradesh to initiate special funds (to reward those who give information against poachers or help in forest protection) set examples across the country which prove to be deterrents to poachers across the country. They are often linked to the other and such arrests not only serve to disrupt such chains but also provide valuable information regarding such groups.