Maharashtra, India Makes It Legal To Shoot Tiger Poachers On Site
The government in Maharashtra has stated that injuring or killing suspected poachers will not longer be a crime in the state, according to Bloomberg Business Week.
The government in the western Indian state is also planning on sending more rangers and jeeps into the forest. They will also offer secret payments to informers, if they give tips about poachers and animal smugglers, according to Maharashtra Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam. Kadam stated:
“[The Forest Guard will not be] booked for human rights violations when they have taken action against poachers.”
He further stated, according to ZeeNews, that:
“The state will also send more rangers and jeeps into forests, and will offer secret payments to informers who give tips about poachers and animal smugglers.”
CBS News reports that Divyabhanusinh Chavda, who heads the World Wildlife Fund in India, stated:
“These poachers have lost all fear. They just go in and poach what they want because they know the risks are low.”
The Wildlife Protection Society of India states that 14 tigers have been poached in India this year, which is one more than all of 2011. Of those deaths, eight occurred in the state of Maharashtra.
CBS News reports that the most recent find was of a tiger’s body, chopped into pieces with its head and paws missing on the Tadoba Tiger Reserve. Forest officials have also reported finding traps in the reserve, which is home to about 40 tigers.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature reports that the tiger, which is considered endangered, has seen its habitat shrink in half in the last 25 years, and its numbers have gone down from an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 in the 1990s.
Although the Forest Guard has yet to kill any tiger poachers, the government hopes that the threat of being killed on site will reduce the amount of tigers being poached in Maharashtra.