By Senthil Kumaran
Bringing back horrors of the Veerappan reign, the carcass of an eight-year-old tusker was found in the Anchetty reserve forest in Krishnagiri district on Saturday morning, riddled with bullets, its tusks sliced off. Forest officials suspect that the elephant was shot dead by poachers from Karnataka a few days ago.
Forest bandit Veerappan had ruled over the Sathyamangalam forests in Erode district poaching several hundred elephants for their ivory. But, after the slaying of Veerappan in 2004, there have been few instances, if none at all, of elephants killed for their tusks.
"We got a tip-off about the elephant death on Saturday morning and visited the spot," said Krishnagiri district forest officer A K Ulaganathan. "The body had been spotted at Yanai Vizhuntha Maduvu in Keratti forest in Anchetty. As it is located deep in the forest, our officials could reach the spot only on Saturday noon," the DFO said. The poachers had fired shots at the elephant's forehead, killing it perhaps instantly. "The poachers could be involved in poaching for many years. This is evident from the manner in which they have sliced off its tusks. It is a clean job," Ulaganathan said.
Based on preliminary investigations, forest officials believe that the poachers could have been from Karnataka. Later, forest veterinarians conducted the post-mortem examination at the spot and buried the carcass in the forest area.
Suspecting the involvement of local villagers, the DFO has initiated an inquiry. "Based on information, we have picked up five villagers from Anchetty for questioning," said a forest department official on condition of anonymity. More....