Forest officials on Friday morning arrested six persons involved in poaching of a Royal Bengal Tiger in the Manas National Park in western Assam and recovered from their possession a tiger skin and 154 pieces of tiger bones too. The recovery was made following a raid in two villages on the fringes of the Panbari range of the national park, with the officials also seizing a hand-made gun and a barrel from them. Manas National Park field director HK Sarma said the arrested persons have confessed to have gunned down the tiger sometime in April inside the Panbari range and were looking for a customer to dispose it off when they were caught.
“Our men raided two houses at villages Dawraibari and Dwmuguri adjoining the Panbari range early Friday morning on the basis of some intelligence inputs, during which the skin of an adult tiger as also 154 pieces of tiger bones were recovered from there. We have arrested six persons including the one who had provided them the gun,” Sarma told The Indian Express over the telephone. Manas National Park is about 150 km west of Guwahati.
This is the second incident of recovery of tiger skin and bones near Manas National Park in nine months, the last being in October 2016 when three persons including a former NDFB militant were arrested from village Betbari adjoining the Bhuyanpara range of the park. The 500-sq km Manas National Park, which had regained its World Heritage Site tag in 2011 after Unesco had put it under its list of Sites in Danger in 1992, had only recently recorded a significant increase in its tiger population.
“We have recorded the presence of 30 tigers in the just-concluded census, which is a big jump from 14 in the last count. The last time, however, we could not cover the Panbari sector, which covers about one-third of Manas (national park’s) area,” field director Sarma said. Slowly recovering from the grip of insurgency, Manas will have more tigers if the contiguous Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan is also taken into account.