By Pinak Priya Bhattacharya
In yet another elephant poaching case in north Bengal this year, carcass of a full-grown jumbo, with its head missing, was found on the outskirts of Neora Valley National Park in the Kalimpong subdivision on Thursday.
The trunk of the elephant was also chopped off and it was found lying close to the body. Foresters patrolling the Sakham area in the Kalimpong subdivision spotted the carcass. This is the third jumbo poaching case in north Bengal this year. Earlier in February, a pachyderm was poached at the Panibari range in Buxa Tiger Reserve and in April, the carcass of a full-grown jumbo was found at the south Raidak range in Buxa with a poison pellet piercing through its body.
The autopsy report revealed that it was a full-grown tusker, which died after sustaining bullet injuries. and the missing of the head clearly indicates that it was taken off to collect the tusks, which fetch hefty amount in international market. The post mortem also revealed that the elephant was shot at which is the reason of its death.
"The elephant might have got trapped in a crossfire on the Assam border where there is a tension over the Bodoland. We suspect that the poachers tracked it at Sakham and chopped off its head for the tusks," said chief wildlife warden NC Bahuguna, adding that chances of the elephant being shot at Nepal can't be ruled out too.
Conservationists blamed the department's staff shortage for the incident. In Bengal, the number of sanctioned post for forest guards is 2444, whereas its present strength is only 1573, which implies that the department has a strength shortage by 36%. More....