Elephant poaching: tiger protection force deployed at M.M. Hills (India)



Date Published
The Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) has been deployed at the Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary where two elephants were found shot dead on Sunday night.
This is to strengthen anti-poaching operations and beef up the existing staff at M.M. Hills sanctuary, which borders Tamil Nadu.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF-Wildlife) Ravi Ralph told The Hindu that the orders to deploy STPF personnel were issued on Monday, soon after the poaching incident was reported. They are expected to take positions by Wednesday.
“They will be stationed there for as long as it is required and help in combing operations of the vast terrain,” he said.
Post-mortem report
Meanwhile, the post-mortem of the two tuskers conducted on Tuesday confirmed that they died of bullet injury.
The poacher had taken aim from a higher angle and seems to have fair knowledge of where the elephant’s cranium is as the first tusker died of a single bullet shot, which pierced its cranium, and the second had two shots aimed at the same place. The lead pieces embedded in the skull were retrieved and will be sent for forensic analysis to Bengaluru.
“We want to ascertain the kind of weapon used, from where it was sourced and also confirm if the same weapon was used to kill both the elephants,” said Dr. Ralph.
The viscera samples will also be sent to the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, for DNA analysis as the authorities want to ensure that in case the tusks are recovered at a future date from the market, they could be studied and if matched, it could provide additional leads.
A senior official from the Tamil Nadu Forest Department also visited M.M. Hills on Wednesday and the personnel from both States exchanged information about known offenders. “The task of questioning known offenders is on,” said Dr. Ralph.