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Wednesday, 28 February, 2001, 12:22 GMT
Indian state probes tiger death
Men carrying dead tiger
India's tiger population is under threat
By Ram Datt Tripathi in Lucknow

The government in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has decided to seek help from the federal police in investigating a recent tiger killing in the Dudhwa tiger reserve park.

Map showing location of tiger reserve in Uttar Pradesh
Several other such cases have been reported from Uttar Pradesh state in the last three years.

The Uttar Pradesh State Forest Minister, Rajdhari Singh, told the BBC the decision to hand over the inquiry to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was taken in a meeting with federal forest officials in Delhi.

According to the minister, the federal police will be able to enlarge the scope of the inquiry to other related areas, as it has wide jurisdiction and more resources.

Poaching gangs

The state police last week recovered seven tiger heads, one skin and 41 kg of animal bones from a village inside the Dudhwa tiger reserve forest.

Four local tribal people were also arrested in connection with the find.

Police say that a gang of poachers has been operating for the last six years and that the body of a tiger was recently recovered from outside the tiger reserve area.

Forest officials say that the skin of the tiger was removed - although most of its teeth were intact.

Forest officials suspect that the tiger might have been killed by poachers, but they have not ruled out the possibility of a natural death.

The tiger's body has been sent for post mortem to ascertain the cause of death.

The state authorities say that the Dudhwa forest - close to the border with Nepal - is being used to smuggle tiger parts to the international market.

The minister said local people help smugglers for money.

Illegal pursuit

Tigers are not the only targets of the poachers.

Recently, five elephants were killed in the famous Corbett Tiger Reserve.

The killing of tigers and other endangered species is banned in India, where the law prescribes severe punishments for those caught poaching.

It is reported that tiger parts are widely used in China, the Far East and the Gulf countries where they fetch a large amount of money.

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See also:

20 Nov 00 | South Asia
Court censure for India zoos
07 Oct 00 | South Asia
Poachers kill tiger in Indian zoo
29 Jul 00 | South Asia
Tiger toll rises at India zoo
18 Jan 00 | Sci/Tech
TV tigress feared dead
13 Jan 00 | South Asia
Tiger skin haul 'biggest ever'
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