K’taka and TN launch joint probe into tusker deaths (India)


Lawrence Milton,Times of India

Date Published
MYSURU: Karnataka and Tamil Nadu forest officials on Tuesday launched a joint investigation into the killing of two tuskers in MM Hills forest in Karnataka on the fringes of Tamil Nadu.
Karnataka officials have shared with their Tamil Nadu counterparts a list of suspects from Tamil Nadu having a history of forest crimes, said Ravi Ralph, PCCF (wildlife) Karnataka. TN officers too visited the spot and combed the region for material evidence on Tuesday after Karnataka forest authorities conducted an autopsy of the two elephants that were shot dead.
Ralph told TOI that both the tuskers had bullet injuries but there seems to be a gap of 1-3 days between the death of each tusker. The official, however, claimed that going by the modus operandi, it is clear that same gang members are involved in the killings. The culprits shot pellets into the cranial region of the elephants before removing their tusks. Visceral samples, maggots and material evidence collected at the scene of crime will be sent for lab examination to establish the cause of death and to facilitate probe.
Since the deaths have happened within 1km of TN border, Karnataka forest officials are quite sure that the massive animals, aged around 25 years, were shot dead by miscreants from Tamil Nadu for their tusks, which are in huge demand in China and international black market, sources claimed.
The forest officials cremated both the elephants on Tuesday after autopsy.