Action-taken report sought (Kalpetta, India)


The Hindu

Date Published

A day after a wild tusker was found dead with bullet injuries at Athirattukunnu in Wayanad district on Sunday, Rajiv Kumar Srivastava, Inspector General of Forest and Director, Project Elephant, has sought an action-taken report from the Chief Wildlife Warden of Kerala on the death of elephants in Wayanad district.

The order follows a petition submitted by V.K. Venkitachalam, secretary of the Thrissur-based Heritage Animal Task Force.

Mr. Venkitachalam said in his petition that as many as three elephants had been found dead in the forest area in the district with wounds of gunshots in the last five months.

Though the carcass of a cow elephant, aged about 13, with bullet injuries had been found inside the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WSS) onMay 29, the main accused, who is the owner of several resorts functioning on the fringes of the forest, was arrested on October 25, after nearly five months.

The poachers shot the elephant while it was grazing inside the sanctuary.

This type of poaching has been continuing in the region, which is a forest area with facilities for 24-hour vigilance by forest protective staff, Mr. Venkitachalam said.

The killing of a cow elephant, aged about 10, on July 26 in the South Wayanad forest division was the second incident.

As many eight wild elephants had been found dead in the district, including three that died of bullet injuries, two electrocuted, one due to a fall into a trench and two with natural causes.

However, the Forest Department has failed to arrest the real culprits.

Joint task force

Though a joint task force had been constituted by the Kerala and Karnataka governments by inducting officials of the Police and Forest Departments to curb poaching, it was yet to make any impact in preventing such killings, he said.

Mr. Venkitachalam also urged the authorities to depute a fact-finding team of the Project Elephant and the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau to the region to address the alarming situation.

Three elephants had been found dead in the forest area with bullet injuries in the last five months