Alipurduar, Dec. 7: Forest guards arrested a tea garden worker and seized five dead flying squirrels from Buxa Tiger Reserve (East) on Friday. Two accomplices of Niren Ekka, however, gave the forest staff a slip.
Spurred into action by a tip-off that three persons had entered the North Rydak range, the foresters started scouring the jungle for the trio and spotted them in CR-4 compartment. Sensing that they were going to be caught, the poachers started fleeing, but Ekka was captured and five dead squirrels were recovered.
The guards interrogated Ekka, a worker of Rydak Tea Estate, and got the names of the other two hunters. The foresters raided the houses of the two, but they were not present.
Ekka was produced in the court of additional chief judicial magistrate in Alipurduar yesterday and remanded in judicial custody for 14 days.
The deputy field director of the reserve, Suvankar Sengupta, said the squirrel belonged to Schedule-II category of Wildlife Act. “Although Ekka told us that they had killed the squirrels for meat, we are investigating the actual intention of the hunters. Anyway, the trio had entered the forest illegally.”
According to some forest officers, the skins of squirrel are in great demand in the market as they could be used to make decorative items.
On February 17, the guards of Rydak range had arrested two persons, Khullol Alam from Bihar and Safikul Islam from Dhubri, when they were trying to trap mynahs. The forest department is investigating whether Ekka had any connect with Alam and Islam.