By Binoy Valsan
The discovery of the poached elephant carcass with missing tusks in Krishnagiri is not an isolated incident as the state forest department officials have been on a state of high alert for the past two months against possible poacher incursions into the forests in the western region. Senior forest officials have claimed that high alert was issued after reports from ground level anti poaching watchers and other staff that certain poachers with previous history of indulging in ivory trade were trying to enter into the forest and there were several instances of suspicious elements being spotted in the forest areas here.
"We have deployed more forces and our anti poaching watchers are on perambulation (foot patrol) operations inside the forest. We are on a state of high alert," said M Senthilkumar, district forest officer, Coimbatore.
Forest officials had discovered the carcass of an eight year old elephant with its tusks sawed off in the Anchetty reserve forest in Krishnagiri district on Saturday. According to forest officials, the jumbo was poached by certain groups from Karnataka involved in the removal and transportation of tusks. Forest department officials have been in a state of alert on receiving inputs that the poachers intend to return to the forest regions of Coimbatore, Erode, Sathyamangalm, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri divisions.
"As per our information these people were earlier involved in poaching and removal of tusks. They usually enter the forest and do not come out for weeks. It is an organised network but these men are at the lowest level and they are only aware about the people immediately above them," said another senior forest department official.
As per the forest department's perception, the main suspects are a group of traditional poachers hailing from Karnataka and Varshanadu in Theni region who are known to engage in elephant poaching. The tusks that are removed from the animal are usually hidden at specific spots inside the forest including rock crevices and sometimes even buried in the ground. More....