Mauled by allies and opposition alike over the death of four tiger cubs in Chandrapur forests in the last couple of days, Maharashtra government has sought CBI inquiry into the incident and has also proposed to the Centre to impose tougher punishment on poachers.The state government has proposed that the punishment for poaching wild animals be enhanced to 10 years’ jail sentence along with a fine of Rs 5 lakh. The existing term under the Wildlife Protection (WP) Act, 1972, is seven years’ jail and Rs25,000 fine.”We have written to the Centre to amend the rules making stringent provisions for tiger poachers,” forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said on Tuesday.Four tiger cubs had died of malnutrition in Saoli forest of Chandrapur district as of Sunday morning. Three cubs were found dead, while the fourth died while undergoing treatment. Chandrapur is Mungantiwar’s home district.Stung by the criticism, Mungantiwar has sought the help of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the death of tiger cubs. Justifying his move, Mungantiwar said, “We suspect that the cubs died as their mother didn’t breastfed them. The tigress, which is missing, may have been poached, or died while searching for food or water. Since CBI has the expertise to understand the complexities, we thought it would be better to seek their help.” Tigers are poached for smuggling its body parts to China where they were used for medicinal purposes, he pointed out.The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has claimed that 41 tigers died in Maharashtra, since January.The minister said the tigress and cubs were not part of Tiger Reserve area but buffer zone, where the surveillance is negligible. “We have hence ordered installation of camera traps and deployment of tiger reserve force in outer areas with significant number of big cats,” he said.According to wildlife officials, a tigress never goes more than half a kilometre for prey when it has one or two-month-old cubs. “Since there is no trace of the big cat or its pugmark in the area, we are worried it might have been killed,” said an official. He said the government had issued a resolution on providing four times compensation to the villagers whose lands were acquired for wildlife sanctuaries.Makes light of Sena remarksReacting to Shiv Sena’s demand in Saamna editorial, that he should take moral responsibility for the incident, Mungantiwar said, “I take it positively, as it will help us improve. As the minister for forests, I have to take moral responsibility.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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Mauled government seeks CBI probe into cubs’ death, 10-year jail for poachers