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Tiger skin seized, 3 arrested

The Hindu, New Delhi 3rd February, 2015

Forest Department officials seized a tiger skin and arrested three persons from a house at Edavilakom, near Murukkumpuzha, in the district on Monday. The accused were identified as Santosh of Kadakkal, Mohammed Subair of Kakkanad, and Jagdeesh Kumar of Murukkumpuzha.

The seizure was made following a tip-off received by the Assistant Conservator of Forest, Forest Intelligence Cell, B. Santosh Kumar.

The trio gave a slip to the officials led by Divisional Forest Officer, Flying Squad, Thiruvananthapuram, J. R. Ani; Range Officer, Palode, S.V. Vinod; and Range Officer, Flying Squad, Chullimanoor, Adarsh, at Kazhakuttam. But, they were nabbed from the house of one Rajesh at Edavilakom. Rajesh managed to escape.

“We have confirmed that the pelt is that of a tiger that is around three years old. The specimen is pretty old,” Mr. Vinod said.

The officials have commenced inquiry into from where the pelt originated. Santosh is involved in five cases registered by the Forest Department and seven by the police. “He is a seasoned criminal having links with the inter-State sandalwood mafia,” an official said.

A case has been registered in the Palode range under the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act for hunting, illegal possession and attempt to trophy. The accused will be produced in the Nedumangad Forest Court after interrogation and collecting evidence.

A sq ft of tiger pelt costs over Rs.5 lakh in international markets, sources said. It is used for meditation in the belief that sitting on the tiger skin will give positive energy.

It was in September 2013 that the department last seized a pelt of an adult tiger from the capital from two residents of Tamil Nadu.