A 41-year-old man was arrested on Thursday evening in connection with the death of a three-year-old female elephant calf, which on July 29 succumbed to injuries after a crude explosive went off in its mouth. The arrested person was identified as R Murugan of Mariamman Kovil Street at Kuppanaickenpalayam here.
Forest department officials said Murugan had planted a crude bomb, used for killing wild boars, in farm field located at the foothills of Ponnuthamman near Pannimadai. The calf bit the explosive, which went off in its mouth. After this incident, the calf could not take any food, including its mother’s breastfeed. Subsequently, it died on July 29.
Officials said they are on the look out for two more who are on the run. The duo was identified as Rangaraj, 40, and Rajendran, 39, both from Chinnathadagam.
Department sources said Rajendran was Murugan’s younger brother. All the three have been booked under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Murugan, officials said, was engaged in agriculture work. He used to stay in the farm land in Ponnuthamman. Investigation revealed that Chinnamottai alias Rangaraj used to buy explosives from Periyanaickenpalayam and the trio planted in the agricultural field. “The trio planted the crude explosives and hunted wild boars once a week and shared the meat,” said an official.
Based on a tip-off, the forest department team went to Kerala to nab Rajendran, but he is still at large.
The forest department will also arrest people illegally selling explosives to poachers, the officials said.