‘Poacher’ shot dead in encounter with Karnataka forest officials inside Bandipur Tiger Reserve

The deceased was part of a gang of eight to 10 poachers, and they had killed a sambar deer, said the Forest Department personnel.

ByBellie Thomas

Published Nov 05, 2023 | 9:11 PM Updated Nov 05, 2023 | 9:12 PM

Forest officials at Bandipur Tiger Reserve with the hunted Sambar deer's carcass

A 23-year-old man was shot dead in a reported exchange of fire with the Karnataka Forest Department’s anti-poaching personnel in the Maddur Forest Range in the small hours of Sunday, 5 November.

Identifying the deceased as Madhu of the Bheemanabeedu village, forest officials said he was part of a gang of eight to 10 poachers who had hunted a sambar deer.

The Maddur Forest Range is in Bandipur Tiger Reserve in the Chamarajanagar district’s Gundlupet taluk.

Officials said a patrol party heard gunshots around 12 midnight, and alerted the anti-poaching camp personnel.

When the armed personnel arrived at the scene, the gang took cover and fired at them. Though the forest guards fired warning shots in the air, the gang continued firing at them around 2 am.

“As one of our teams of anti-poaching camp personnel reached the spot, the poachers opened fire at them. One of the personnel fired in the air and ordered them to surrender. But they continued firing, and the forest officials had to open fire in self defence,” Bandipur Tiger Reserve Director Ramesh Kumar told South First.

Madhu was killed in the retaliatory fire. Other gang members escaped under the cover of darkness.

Also read: Leopard on prowl in southeastern suburbs of Bengaluru shot dead 

Rich biodiversity

On searching the scene, the forest officials found the dismembered carcass of the deer and a gun.

“The deer’s carcass was cut into six pieces, and we even found bullets embedded in them,” said Kumar, adding that efforts were on to find the other members of the gang with the help of the police.

The Bandipur Tiger Reserve is one of the richest biodiversity areas in India. It is home to elephants, tigers, four-horned antelopes, golden jackals, leopards, and many other animals.

The biodiversity of the reserve, which is spread over 900 square km, suffered when forest brigand Veerappan was active in the region.

It is surrounded by the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in the south and the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in the southwest. The Kabini Reservoir separates it from the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve in the northwest.