A full-grown tusker was poached in North Bengal's Buxa Tiger Reserve late on Saturday. This is the second such incident in the forest in a span of little over a month.
Forest guards recovered the carcass of the 25-year-old elephant from the South Raidhak range, with its tusks missing. BTR field director R P Saini said a poison-coated pellet, fired from a country-made gun, pierced through its chest. "Probably, gangs from the northeast are involved in the poaching," he added.
Chief wildlife warden N C Bahuguna, who has left for the spot, said that such pellets are used to shoo away elephants when they come close to human settlements. "Since a poison-coated pellet has been found, chances of poaching are definitely strong. Further details can only be given after a proper inquiry," he said.
On February 28, an elephant was killed in a similar manner in the Panibari range of Buxa forest.
In June, last year, some miscreants took out the tusks of a jumbo after it succumbed to its ailments at the Khuttimari forest in North Bengal. The tusks were later recovered from a water body near Khuklung forest village, about 1.5 kilometres from the spot where the tusker was found dead.
The tusks were kept in a container and drowned in a waterbody, so that the department officials could not find it. While one tusk weighed around 23 kilos, the other was 20 kilos heavy.