65 tiger, leopard and otter skins seized in Karnataka

The Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) provided intelligence and assisted in a huge wildlife enforcement operation in northern Karnataka in the early hours of this morning. Sixty-five skins were seized - one tiger skin, 21 leopard skins and 43 otter skins.

New Delhi, Delhi, December 13, 2007 /India PRwire/ -- The Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) provided intelligence and assisted in a huge wildlife enforcement operation in northern Karnataka in the early hours of this morning. Sixty-five skins were seized – one tiger skin, 21 leopard skins and 43 otter skins. A well known wildlife trader called Prabhakar was arrested.

Prabhakar is said to have been in the trade for years. He purchases the skins directly from poachers and allegedly controls most of the illegal wildlife trade in south India. In the past he is known to have supplied skins to the notorious wildlife trader Sansar Chand in Delhi. Prabhakar is an active political worker and is believed to have considerable local support.

The Karnataka Police CID Forest Cell, which is headed by Inspector General of Police, K.S.N. Chikkerur, conducted two raids in the town of Hubli and the village of Haliyal. The raiding party was led by Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr Narayan Swami.

“This second large seizure within just a few days, is a serious wakeup call on how swiftly we are loosing our wildlife to the illegal wildlife trade”, said Belinda Wright, Executive Director of WPSI. “We will loose this great national treasure if we do not make curbing wildlife crime a priority and use intelligence-led enforcement to curb this menace”.

Notes to Editor

The WILDLIFE PROTECTION SOCIETY OF INDIA (WPSI) was founded in 1994 by renowned tiger conservationist and wildlife activist Belinda Wright. From its inception, WPSI's aim has been to bring a new focus to the daunting task of tackling India's growing wildlife crisis. It does this by providing support, information, and training to government authorities to combat poaching and the escalating illegal wildlife trade - particularly in wild tigers. The Society also supports conservation projects and awareness programmes throughout the country, and works with the growing problem of human-animal conflict involving tigers, leopards and elephants. WPSI constantly liaises with policy makers and conservation agencies, and is in the forefront of India’s wildlife protection efforts.

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