With photographs as proof, the task force, in their complaint to the State Police Chief and Director of Project Elephant, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, New Delhi, alleged that the elephant bore many pellets too on its body after poachers shot at it with airguns.
“The Forest Department has not taken any step to remove the bullet or the pellets from the elephant’s body. They have kept it in a narrow cage without any veterinary care,” alleged V.K. Venkitachalam, Secretary of the Task Force.
He recalled that in a similar incident a few years ago, when the Tamil Nadu Forest Department captured an elephant it too had a dozen of bullets on its body. However, they managed to remove the bullets and the elephant lived for many years.
Mr. Venkitachalam noted that the elephant, caught from Attappady, was attacked by poachers who are very active on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border. The wounds must have forced the animal to come out of the forest and take refuge in human inhabited areas, he noted.
The task force urged the authorities to depute an expert team to Kodanad elephant camp for removing bullet and pellets from the elephant’s body and to provide treatment for it. It also demanded stringent action against the poachers.
Meanwhile, R.K. Srivasthava, Director of the Project Elephant, MoEF, has asked the State Chief Wildlife Warden to look in to the complaint of the Heritage Animal Task Force and take appropriate action.