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Wildlife SOS help nab a notorious tiger poacher

Our friends at Wildlife SOS India have had a busy few weeks as they were part of a multi-organisational team that apprehended a notorious tiger poacher, Bheema Bawaria. After a chase through the streets of Delhi, Bawaria was caught with a tiger skin, tiger bones (an entire skeleton), two live turtles and ivory. The operation to catch the well known thief was conducted by NGO Wildlife SOS, NTCA, CBI, WCCB and the Haryana Police and Forest departments.

Bawaria was previously arrested in 2009 and is a repeat offender, involved with other big name poachers. The joint forces have been on the lookout for Bawaria for several years and he has been under constant surveillance.He has spent time in jail previously but has always returned to a life of poaching. Wildlife SOS and their colleagues are now working to find out who his international links and routes are in order to target the gangs he works with. Tiger body parts are often used in Chinese medicines and as such sold in SE Asia and China.

The arrest of Bawaria is a great achievement and one that could lead to capturing his known associates and suppliers. In turn preventing the mass poaching and sale of tiger parts and other endangered animals, such as elephants.This long winded capture of Bawaria highlights the growing need for cross-organisation communication and the ongoing problem of poaching worldwide.

The Indian Government has recently made moves to protect the tiger population further by preventing tourism and access to several of India's most famous National Parks. The tiger tourism ban is currently being debated in the Indian Supreme Court. It is argued that ecotourism is not helping the Bengal tiger survive but damaging the habitat. The alternative argument is that tiger tourism actually brings in much needed funds to help protect the Bengal Tiger. The Travel Operators for Tigers argue that the highest density populations of tigers are in fact found in the most visited reserves and that poachers make up 95% of the reasons behind tiger population decrease. The anti-ban supporters also argue that removing tourism will only encourage poaching activity in the quiet reserves where currently a constant presence deters the poachers.

The final decision will be made on the 22 August and we hope that the Indian Government and all other parties involved can work together to maintain ecotourism and protect the tiger population.

And a final congratulations to Wildlife SOS for helping to stop Bawari.

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