Hotaoara, May 6, 2015: The forest staff of Manas Tiger Project seized a six feet-long clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) skin on May 6, 2015, at about 12:30 am at Hotapara near B.H. College, Barpeta District, Assam. A Schedule-I species under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, clouded leopard has been classified as Vulnerable in 2008 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This is the second seizure of clouded leopard skin in the past five years.
The Forest Department seized the skin from Jasmat Ali from Bareta District of Assam. The staff of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Howly, shared the information about the skin from a reliable source with the forest staff of Manas TR. The accused also revealed that he got the skin from Gerukamukh, North Lakhimpur District of Assam, where NHPC is constructing a dam over Subansiri River.
The forest staff led by Mr. Giren Brahma, Forester-I, along with five others, confiscated the skin with the help of SSB, Howly. The convicted person was presented before CJM, Barpeta, and was later sent to judicial custody. Mr Giren Brahma, Forester-I, Mr. Amit Goyary, Forest Guard, who were part of the team, had taken part in the refresher course (Module-E) on Wildlife Crime Prevention Training held at Bansbari from March 2 to 4, 2015, organised by IFAW-WTI, in which a total of 60 forest personnel participated in two batches each.
Mr. Giren Brahma, Forester-I, Manas Tiger Reserve, said, “The quality of writing whether it is for the offence report or the documents that we provide in support of the case has improved considerably. We are even prepared to deal with the type of questions that the lawyer may ask in the court. While writing the offence report for this case, we spoke to Mr. BN Talukdar over the phone for his guidance. This was all possible because of the series of IFAW-WTI Module E training organised in Manas.”
Module E comprised of two days of class-room sessions and one and half day of practical session on crime scene investigation and offence report writing. The theory included important sections of Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 amended up to date, relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860; The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Assam Forest (Protection) Rules 1997; and the Arms Act, 1959.
Dr Bhaskar Choudhury, Regional Head & Head Vet, IFAW-WTI, said, “We hope to see an improved offense report which will stand in the court of law for attracting stringent punishment, which will justify the training process. We may get feedbacks from the government lawyer on the quality of documents submitted by the FD.”