A farmer in India was arrested by authorities after he was found with 14 nails taken from the paws of a dead lion in a protected area.
On February 14, forest officers in the Tulsishyam range in Amreli, Gujarat discovered that 14 out of 18 nails from the lion’s paws were missing from its carcass, the Times of India reported. The nails were then found on April 1 at the house of Vashram Dhapa, a 45-year-old local farmer.
After preliminary inquiries, the forest officers ruled out the possibility of the nails being taken away by any animals nearby.
Nikunj Parmar, the assistant conservator of the Tulsishyam forest, said Dhapa often trespassed into the forest and has a history of stealing minor forest products.
Dhapa was arrested when he was looking to sell the lion nails. Parmar added that while there was no organized market for lion nails, people from different backgrounds do wear lion nails as pendants as there is a belief that lion nails are auspicious.
An autopsy conducted on the lion ruled out foul play and found that it died a natural death. Its corpse had been lying in the forest for a few days and had been decomposing.
Dhapa has since been charged under the Wildlife Protection Act for the crime of poaching.