Unbridled avarice

Published: Sunday 31 March 1996

IT SEEMS poachers can go to any length to carry on their trade. Poaching of flora and fauna goes on unchecked in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. An Institute of British Geographers survey has raised serious concerns about the killing of estuarine crocodiles for their skins and the slaughtering of Olive 'Ridley turtles for their meat. The flora smuggled out of the islands include cane and paddock, a very precious timber. These poachers travel in the guise of fisherfolk on trawlers from places like Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia.

The crocodiles, eight to nine feet long, are mostly found in the estuary of Galgathia river in the Great Nicobar Islands. The poachers hunt these reptiles with the help of local tribals. Crocodile skin sells for a price of at least us $3 per square inch. The Olive Ridley turtles have migrated from eastern Andaman islands to the southernmost parts of the Great Nicobar Islands to escape poachers.

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