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Forest officials on hunt for leopard killers

By Our Staff Reporter

CUDDAPAH, APRIL 1. Forest officials sounded a red alert in Cuddapah and Nellore districts on Friday following yesterday's recovery of a leopard carcass from the forest in Bavikadipalle in Pullampet mandal.

The officials were contemplating invoking of the Preventive Detention (PD) Act for a wildlife offence, the first of its kind in the State. They chanced upon vital clues in the case of a leopard's killing in an electrified trap laid by poachers near a water hole in the forest near Bavikadipalle village, a couple of days ago. Power was illegally drawn from high-tension lines to electrify the traps laid with a view to killing the wild animals, according to them.

An organised gang of seven poachers was suspected to be behind the killing of the leopard, whose carcass was recovered. Following the seizure of the carcass in Pullampet mandal and a leopard skin and 16 nails at Cherlopalle in Chitvel mandal about 10 days ago, the forest officials have stepped up vigilance in the forest areas through intensified patrolling.

The leopard could be around two-and-a-half to three-years-old, according to the Rajampet Divisional Forest Officer, Sunder, who recovered the carcass based on information given by the Bavikadipalle VSS members. Poachers were on the prowl for wild animals as a leopard skin could fetch around Rs. 80,000 and its 16 nails around Rs. 4,000 each.

The leopard was killed after poachers put up an electrified fencing at Cherlopalle in Chitvel mandal about a week ago. The forest officials had nabbed three persons and were on the look out for two more. A leopard skin and 16 nails were seized from them. Those arrested were charged under Section 379 and Section 120 B IPC and remanded to judicial custody.

Electrified traps seized

The forest officials launched a manhunt to nab one, Sesham Pardesi, of Cherlopalle village, from whose house several electrified traps and nooses used to trap rabbits, birds and some animals were seized. The seizure revealed that he had been a poacher for long, Mr. Sunder said. The culprits would be nabbed and punished, he said.

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