Police in Brazil have arrested a sick poacher who tied up a terrified jaguar cub and dumped two severed jaguar heads next to it as a pack of dogs howled nearby.
Cruel Joao de Deus da Silva was seized on the BR-174 motorway in Caceres, Mato Grosso State, on 31st March.
In the pickup truck he was travelling in, officers found four English Pointer dogs, which were being transported irregularly, were tied improperly, and had wounds.
The 59-year-old reportedly confessed to carrying out the sick crime after allegedly being promised BRL 5,000 (GBP 800) per severed jaguar head.
He reportedly admitted to buying the dogs for BRL 3,000 (GBP 480) to help hunt the big cats.
Graphic footage of the traumatised cub between the howling dogs and the severed heads was shared on social media, outraging netizens.
Another man in the vehicle, named in reports as Laudelino Luis Neto, was released after giving a statement to the police.
Da Silva is reportedly accused of illegal hunting and animal mistreatment. He was held in custody until 2nd April, when he was released on bail.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office has opposed his release, but judges ruled that he did not pose a threat to the public.
If found guilty of causing the jaguars’ deaths, he could face up to five years in prison, plus a fine.
He also faces two to five years behind bars, plus fines, if convicted of mistreatment of the dogs, local media report.
Investigators believe the crime took place in the Pantanal – the world’s largest tropical wetland area and largest flooded grasslands – either in Mato Grosso or the neighbouring state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
The case remains under investigation by the Civil Police in Mato Grosso.
The jaguar (Panthera onca) is categorised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as “near threatened”.
The species is listed as “vulnerable” by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation, which is the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment’s administrative arm.
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Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Central European News
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