Hyderabad: Seventeen people including four poachers have been arrested for allegedly killing a leopard in a forest area in Nirmal district of Telangana, and trying to sell the skin of the wild cat, police said on Tuesday.
"On credible information, 17 people were nabbed over the past four days with the assistance of the forest officials from whom one leopard skin was seized," Rachakonda Commissioner of Police, Mahesh M Bhagwat said in Hyderabad.
Prime accused Kanaka Anil, along with Srinivas, Jyothiram and Jaggaram, all residents of Islampur village of Kadem mandal in Nirmal district, who are habituated to poaching wild boar and deer in the forest areas of Uddampur and Birsaipet, in March 2016 hatched a plan to kill tigers and sell their skin, the Commissioner said.
"As per their plan, they procured wire and sticks and other incriminating material and went to the forest of Birsaipet and laid a wire fencing around a water pond where wild animals come for drinking water and connected it to the electrical wire by putting hooks. In the process, one leopard got electrocuted and they skinned the animal and later they informed the other accused for selling its skin," Bhagwat said.
"For the past three months, the accused were contacting prospective customers at Hyderabad and mediating the sale of leopard skin for about Rs 20 lakhs to Rs 25 lakhs. On June 7, a police team nabbed six members of the gang after intercepting their vehicle during vehicle checking at Ghatkesar near Hyderabad and seized leopard skin from them. Based on their interrogation, 11 more accused including the four poachers were nabbed on Monday," the senior police officer said.
All the accused were booked under relevant sections of IPC and the Wildlife Protection Act. Further probe is on.