After security forces launched operations against that virtually ended their 'levy raj' to collect easy money, Maoists have taken to poaching of endangered animals for their organs, skins and horns to collect funds for their activities, according to a senior police official.
The issue came to light after the police arrested four Maoists in Rohtas district. A wildlife smuggler who is a known Maoist aide was also arrested last month.
Rohtas Superintendent of police Manu Maharaj said that it is clear that Maoists are now targetting wild animals for mobilising money.
"The police have recovered arms and ammunitions along with equipment used in poaching from the accused in Ulho and Gotahar villages two days ago," he said.
Maharaj said police arrested Indu Paswan, a Maoist poacher kingpin on August 7."We also recovered a leopard skin and two sets of deer horns from him," he said.
According to him, Paswan has confirmed them of this new strategy.
The arrested Maoists have informed the police that the tiger and leopard skins were sold for Rs 5 lakh and Rs 2.5 lakh respectively; similarly, the deer hide fetched Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh and a set of horns was sold for anything between Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000.
A senior police official said that after the arrests, police in all districts with forest were alerted to keep a watch on Maoists activities.