Following the arrest of three men from Cherambadi by the Karnataka police on Saturday, after some ivory tusks were found in their vehicle, the Gudalur Division of the Forest Department began inquiries into the suspected poaching operation on Sunday.
Forest Department officials said that they have arrested Kunji Mohan from Pandalur in Gudalur.
They had obtained the lead after Karnataka police had interrogated the three men and passed on the information to the Forest Department.
The three suspects had told police that Kunji Mohan had sold them the tusks.
Forest Department officials interrogated Kunji Mohan on Monday.
He reportedly told them that he had collected the tusks from a dead male elephant.
Skeletal remains found
Based on the information gathered from the man, forest officials found the skeletal remains of the elephant in a reserve forest on late Monday evening.
When contacted, District Forest Officer (Gudalur Division), P.K. Dileep, said that a post-mortem examination would be conducted on the skeletal remains of the animal on Tuesday.
The animal is suspected to have died almost a year ago, and only the skeleton is left. “We will ascertain whether there are any bullet injuries or signs of unnatural death or trauma caused to the animal’s bone structure,” he said.
Mr. Dileep also said that the department would work with the police and if required, with the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau to unearth the channels that fuel the black-market trade in ivory.
The Forest Department are to hand over Kunji Mohan to the Karnataka police, and to also seek to interrogate the three others arrested.