Forensics can easily be used in wildlife
In February, 16 poachers were jailed for killing lions in Gir National Park in Gujarat, home to the only wild population of Asiatic Lions. Inspector general of police Keshav Kumar, who was with the criminal investigation department in Ahmedabad, cracked the case using dna fingerprinting and narcoanalysis. It was the first case of wildlife crime where cutting-edge forensics was deployed. Kumar, now posted at the Sabarmati jail, told Sumana Narayanan how he got on the trail of poachers
How did you get involved in poaching investigation?
Earlier, the case was with the forest department. Four lions had been killed. Then two more lions were killed. This was when the state government called us (cid). The government was concerned since poaching of lions was not common and generated bad publicity.
What did you find in Gir?
I camped there for a month and a half with forensics experts. We found carcasses of lions. The bones, claws and flesh had been removed. The skin was left along with internal organs. Apart from bloodstains on the ground, we found a matchbox which had Chameli printed on it and a bandage. There were food packets. We found three places were lions had been poached; two within the park and one in a farmer