A man was arrested after photos showing some poachers killing and skinning a pregnant Asiatic black bear in Meghalaya’s East Khasi Hills district went viral on social media, officials said on Wednesday.
The pregnant bear was seen lying with her tongue out as four persons were skinning the animal in the viral photos, leading to an outrage on social media. The incident happened on May 4 at Mawpyrthuh village in Pynursla sub-division, a remote area. The Asiatic black bear, also known as the Himalayan black bear or Tibetan black bear, is a vulnerable species.
Forest Minister Lahkmen Rymbui said one of the poachers were arrested with the help of police and further investigation was underway. Rymbui, who is also the Home Minister, said the offenders will be booked under relevant sections of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
The minister sent a team of wildlife officers to the area to inquire about the incident, following which the arrest was made on Tuesday night, an official said.
Many such incidents of poaching are happening in the interior villages of the state during the lockdown period but were not reported, a senior wildlife officer said.
He said the department has received information about a number of water bodies in the state being poisoned, killing fishes.
The officer said such reports about Umngot river, Umngi river and other minor rivers across the state were coming in but were pending investigation.