A youth at a village under Gazole police station of Malda district was arrested by the state forest department on Sunday night for allegedly killing a fishing cat and devouring its meat.
Search for another person involved in the incident is on.
Sources said that Ajit Hembram, a resident of Kumarpur village, caught and killed the fishing cat — an endangered species on the red data list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature — on October 21, skinned the animal and devoured its meat.
“As a proof of his act, Ajit posted his photographs with the skin of the animal on social media. The photos caught the attention of some social organisations, which in turn informed us through WhatsApp. We acted immediately and he was arrested on Sunday night. Two bamboo sticks and a nylon net used to catch the animal have been seized from his house,” said Siddharth B, the divisional forest officer of Malda.
During interrogation, Ajit admitted to poaching the cat along with his uncle Mangal Hembram. Mangal, the official said, has gone into hiding.
Foresters, led by Sudarshan Sarkar, the forest range officer of Gazole, who is leading the probe, are in search of him. Ajit, on the other hand, has been booked under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Around a month, back, another fishing cat had been sighted in Mahadipur area that is under Englishbazar police station.
Some residents mistook it for a tiger and started searching for it.
“Our timely intervention had saved the animal back then and an awareness programme was held for villagers. Similar programmes will be held in Gazole also to explain the consequences of poaching wild animals,” said a forest official.