Man Who ‘Cut Off Bear Penises For An Aphrodisiac’ Arrested
Police in India have caught a man who allegedly cut off and ate bear penises after chasing him for six years.
The 30-year-old alleged poacher, known as Yarlen, was arrested on October 19 in the state of Gujarat.
Police first went after Yarlen in 2013, when two sloth bear carcasses from the Kanha national park were discovered with their genitalia and gall bladders missing.
Bear bile, which is produced in the liver and stored in the gall bladder, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years and sells for high price in the illegal international market.
Yarlen was arrested and spent a year in jail, but he went on the run after being freed on bail.
Ritesh Sirothia, of the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department, said that as well as cutting off bears’ penises Yarlen was a major figure in central India’s tiger poaching trade. He is suspected to have been involved with both the poaching and trading of the endangered wild animals, the BBC report.
Yarlen is said to be part of a nomadic Pardhi-Behelia tribe; a community found in the southern parts of Madhya Pradesh which traditionally lived in forests and depended on hunting for survival.
The tribe believe the sloth bear’s penis is an aphrodisiac, suggesting the 30-year-old would have gone after the poor bears in order to boost his sex drive. Sloth bears are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
The Times of India reports Yarlen is suspected of chopping off and eating reproductive organs of hundreds of sloth bears across the country and an official from the forest department told AFP the 30-year-old would sell the gall bladders of the bears on orders of businessmen across India.
At the time Yarlen was arrested, authorities also confiscated three fake voter IDs that the suspect is believed to have used to evade capture.
Speaking of the arrest, Sirothia, who heads the forest department’s special task force, said:
We created a special cell to track him down and arrest him. It was our longest chase, it went on for six years.
The hunting of wild animals is illegal in India, though ritual forest hunting continues. The Indian government says it is working to provide alternative livelihoods to tribespeople.
Sirothia said there were six cases registered against Yarlen in the states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Three of the cases involve the poaching of tigers.
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