SAMBALPUR: The carcass of an elephant found in Sanbandi reserve forest near Dudkakud village under Padiabahal forest range in Jujumura block of the district on Friday has exposed inability of the Forest officials as well as police in arresting the poaching even as the Crime Branch (CB) has been assigned to probe into the issue.
It is the fourth such incident in the district since January 20. On May 28, another elephant died due to ailment in Munder under the same block. With the Forest officials afraid to venture into deep forest due to the presence of Maoists, the poachers seemingly have a free run.
The first incident of poaching of elephants in the district was reported on January 20 after the carcass of a 45-year-old tusker was found in Jamankira forest range under Bamra Wildlife Division. Four days later, a 10-year-old elephant was found dead near Luhagura Chowk in Dhama forest range of Sambalpur Division. Forest officials said the tusker had entered the area from neighbouring Sonepur district after sustaining the bullet injuries. After it died, poachers took away the tusks.
In the third incident, decomposed body of a 42-year-old elephant was found in Kadodarah forest under Jamankira forest range of Bamra Wildlife Division on January 27.
This time also, the tusks were missing. The patrolling team of Forest Department said the elephant was killed a week back.
The back to back killing of the tuskers in eight days raised hue and cry among the green brigade and animal lovers forcing the State Government to order Crime Branch probe into the matter.
Though a seven-member team of Crime Branch visited Sambalpur on February 21 for the probe, not much seems to have been accomplished by them.
Later, a few persons were arrested and a huge quantity of ammunition seized from the poachers, but nothing conclusive has been established yet.
When contacted, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Sambalpur Santosh Joshi said the cause of death of the elephant can be ascertained after the receipt of the autopsy report. The involvement of ivory mafia behind the killing of the tuskers is being investigated, he added.