Nagpur -He announced a reward of Rs.500,000 Friday to any forest official who shoots a poacher found killing tigers in the forests of Vidarbha region in eastern Maharashtra.
"On behalf of MNS, I will present an award of Rs.500,000 to any official who shoots a genuine poacher found killing tigers in this region. Plus, I will give another Rs.200,000 to any villager, tribal or forest dweller who provides accurate information on poachers," Thackeray announced Friday afternoon.
He was speaking to media persons after a two-day trip to some of the deep forests of Vidarbha for an on-the-spot appraisal of tiger poaching in the region in the wake of recent reports of tiger deaths.
Exhorting forest officials to heed state Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam's orders to shoot-at-sight tiger poachers, Thackeray said it was imperative to save this precious animal whose numbers in the wild are dwindling at an alarming rate.
There are only 1,417 Royal Bengal Tigers, the species native to the Indian sub-continent, surviving in the wild, according to official statistics.
In the past three years, nearly half a dozen cases of tiger deaths have been reported in the state.
Two tigers were found caught in a steel trap in April this year, including one which died as it struggled to free itself, in the forests near Padasgaon in Chandrapur district. The other tiger survived and is recovering from injuries in Nagpur.
Officials also recovered 11 pieces of a tiger, minus the valuable vital organs, last month from the jungles outside Borda village in Chandrapur district.
The national animal of India, the Royal Bengal Tiger is native to Asia along with other species like the now extinct Sumatran tiger, the Siberian tiger, and the rare white tiger. A couple of captive white tigers can be found in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivli, Mumbai, and in zoos across the country.