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Bodies of six suspected Myanmarese poachers were found in remote Narcondam island in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, an officer said on Sunday. It appears that the poachers died of starvation and dehydration on the small volcanic island after they ran out of ration, the official said.

The small boat they used to reach the island had developed some snag and they could not return. The bodies were found lying a few metres from the shore in a forest on the small Narcondam island on Saturday.

Located in the easternmost part of India, Narcondam in North and Middle Andaman district is only 126 km from Myanmar’s Coco Island. It is formed of andesite, a volcanic rock.

The island is classified as a dormant volcano by the Geological Survey of India (GSI). The island covering an area of approximately 7.6 square kilometres is a hunting ground for the poachers from Myanmar.

On February 14, the Andaman police during a search operation apprehended two Myanmarese poachers from Narcondam Island. They were brought to Port Blair and handed over to the CID, the officer said. During interrogation, they revealed that six more poachers from their country were hiding in the forest of Narcondum.

Immediately, a search team of Andaman police swung into action and they found bodies of the six poachers, the officer said. Preliminary investigation revealed that the motorised wooden dinghy in which they entered the Indian Territory developed some snag and they took shelter in the jungle of Narcondum.

They ran out of ration and drinking water and most probably died of starvation. There are no injury marks on their bodies. The exact cause of their death will be known only after the post-mortem examination,” the officer said.

The bodies were brought to the GB Pant Hospital in Port Blair with the help of the Coast Guard and further investigation is going on. The Union Home Ministry and the External Affairs Ministry have been informed about this to fulfil the formalities at the international level to hand over the bodies to their Myanmar counterpart, the officer said.

More than 100 poachers from Myanmar were arrested from the archipelago in the last two years and large numbers of sea cucumbers and Turbo snails seized from them.

Poachers sneak into Andaman and Nicobar Islands mainly to collect sea cucumbers and turbo snails. Sea cucumbers are highly endangered and they help in keeping the ocean’s bed clean by eating decaying matter which settles on the sea bed.

They are used for medicinal purposes in the international market. Turbo snails are also in high demand in several Asian countries to be used in exotic cuisine and for decorative purposes, including showpieces, jewellery and buttons.