The forest officials of Chittoor district on Tuesday night arrested five persons on charges of poaching wild animals, after pictures, including one with the carcass of a leopard, posted by one of them on a social media platform were brought to the notice of officials
According to information. one of the accused, Madhusudhan, on November 7 shared his pictures online that also included one where he is wielding a country rifle in the backdrop of a forest. Some wildlife lovers, who came across the picture, immediately brought it to the notice of District Forest Officer C. Chaitanya Kumar Reddy, who then formed a special party to probe the case.
With the information provided by the villagers, the forest personnel took Madhusudhan into custody on November 8(Tuesday). During interrogation, it was revealed that two years back, when Madhusudhan was entering the reserve forests between Yadamari and Chittoor mandals, he sighted a leopard at a close range. In a flash, he reportedly killed the animal with his country rifle.
With the help of two other accused, Gangadhar and Dhanasekhar, he reportedly chopped the animal’s hind and forelegs and sold a portion of the nails and bones to “yet to be identified” clients.
As per information, the three-member gang, from Chittoor and Yadamari mandals, was reportedly into hunting wild animals for meat and trading their bodily parts illegally.
Two others, Rudram and Basu of Gudipala mandal of the district, who supplied country rifles to the trio were also arrested on Wednesday. The accused, all in the age group of 32-40, were booked under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and the Arms Act were produced before the Chittoor court and remanded.
The forest officials recovered the nails and bones of a leopard from their possession.
“Though we could recover the nails and bones of the leopard, we are yet to trace the pelt. Whether it is a singular case or not would be probed,” said DFO Mr. Chaitanya Kumar Reddy said.
The forest officials also recovered several antlers, two rifles, two bikes, and three mobiles from the accused.