Mumbai : Five poachers including a watchman have been arrested by the Forest Department, Bordi (in Dahanu) after they received a tipoff that parts of caracass of a leopard was hidden in a chikoo farm in Talasari. The leopard was found dead in a decomposed state in January 2018 and was probably trapped using wire traps allegedly used by the poachers which the Forest Department are probing. After nearly 50 days, the five poachers have been arrested and are in police custody remand when produced before the Dahanu court.

On 10 January 2018, the decomposed carcass of an adult leopard was found in Vevji village in Talasari by the Forest Department, with some body parts missing.  The carcass has been sent for forensic analysis and its report is awaited, said D J Sonawane, Range Forest Officer (RFO), Bordi division and we started to investigate the matter. From the spot, we seized few patches of hair, bone,pieces of carcass of the leopard were found,said Sonawane.

We got information from our sources that parts of skin,  skull, tail, claws of the leopard was hidden in a chikoo farm in Talasari and we raided the farm, and arrested the watchman,who had hidden the body parts of the dead leopard,said Sonawane. And through him, we arrested the remaining four poachers,he added.

On 8 March the arrest was made under the Section 50(1) of the Wildlife Protection Act,1972 and when produced before the Dahanu court, the five accused have been remanded in police custody remand till 12 March and arrest include the kingpin, Babu Navsha Sambar,said Sonawane. The Forest Department are also probing the black magic angle, as it is believed that some tribals kill leopards for practising black magic and during the remand, we will get more information,said sources.

Meantime, local animal activists from Dahanu said the Forest Department should increase patrolling in the area, as there are chances of poachers putting up wire snares to trap wild boars, rabbits, mongooses and in the bargain, leopards get trapped and are killed after they get trapped in the wire traps. However,Forest Department officials have said they have increased patrolling in the area, and will take up further steps to prevent poaching, who lay wire snares to trap wild animals.