Tiger Poachers Can Now Be Shot on Sight in Indian State of Maharashtra

Six months into 2012 there have already been more than double the number of tigers killed in India as we killed in all of last year. Of the 14 confirmed tigers killed this year, 8 of them have been in the state of Maharashtra. Which leads us directly to this, via The Guardian:

The government in Maharashtra says injuring or killing suspected poachers will no longer be considered a crime. Forest guards should not be "booked for human rights violations when they have taken action against poachers", the Maharashtra forest minister, Patangrao Kadam, said on Tuesday. The state will also send more rangers and jeeps into forests, and will offer secret payments to informers who give tips about poachers and animal smugglers, he said.

Considering that forest rangers very rarely catch poachers in the act, forestry officials are really betting on some 5 million rupees in payments to informers to slow tiger poaching, rather than there being fire fights in tiger sanctuaries.

The thing that gets me in all this is that the opposite of this would've been the case before. Was it really illegal to kill tigers but should forest rangers come across poachers they would be prevented from forcefully intervening?

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