Pratapgarh (UP), Apr 16: Forest and wildlife authorities have seized over a dozen tiger skins in Uttar Pradesh's Pratapgarh District.
Two men were nabbed from Sultanpur in Pratapgarh District by the police, who acted on a tip off.
The seized tiger skins are being valued at 20.5 million rupees in the international market. The catch included two tiger skins, 12 cheetah skins and a leopard skin.
Police said some security force personnel were involvedm, which made the crime more serious.
R.K. Srivastav, Superintendent of Police, Pratapgarh, said: "The accused were to sell these skins in the market, as they needed the money. It was their greed for easy money, which got them into the business of selling animal skins."
One of the accused Sanjay admitted that he had stocked the tiger skins.
India's conviction rate of poachers is reportedly less than five percent. Most poachers are let scot-free due to lack of evidence.
The number of tigers in India has plummeted to around 1,411, nearly half the previous estimate, as humans either kill them for their body parts or encroach into their habitat, according to a Government survey.
The estimate comes from the latest tiger census by the Government-run National Tiger Conservation Authority, and is based on a more complex counting method.
The previous census, carried out in 2001 and 2002, said there were 3,642 tigers. A century ago there were 40,000.