.........ROURKELA:Elephant poaching appears to have resurfaced with recovery of the carcass of a sub-adult tusker sans its trunk and tusks from the remote Sol forest range of Bonai Forest Division (BFD) in Sundargarh district. The Forest authorities, on the other hand, are not sure if any organised racket is involved in the crime.
As per reports, the carcass of the tusker, aged about 20 years, was spotted lying in Kunjar Reserve Forest (RF) of Sol range with its trunk chopped off with an axe-like weapon a couple of days back. After autopsy, the decomposed body was buried at the spot on Saturday evening in presence of Rourkela-based Regional Conservator of Forest (RCCF) Lingaraj Otta. The RCCF said it is baffling that the relatively young elephant was killed for its tusks, which may not have been longer than only 8-9 inches. He also said the trunk was hacked off and involvement of local villagers could not be ruled out.
“There are two possibilities. Either the elephant was killed by poachers or it might have died due to other reasons including lightning and greedy villagers removed the tusks from the carcass,” Otta said and added that the autopsy report is awaited to ascertain the exact reason of death.
Though metal detector was used, no objects such as bullet or arrow were found, he said. The RCCF further said the Forest officials are collecting confidential reports from villagers about suspicious movement of outsiders while some persons were also being questioned.
Cases of poaching incidents from Gurundia block of BFD surface at regular intervals. In July 2015, a sub-adult tusker, aged 25-30 years, was killed with a poison-laced arrow at Dalai RF of Sol range. But poachers were not able to remove the tusks due to timely intervention of Forest officials.
In February 2013, suspected poachers of North-East region shot dead an adult elephant and sawed off its trunk for the tusks in Jharkhand, just a few metres from Bisra range of Rourkela Forest Division. In January 2011, a sub-adult elephant was found dead with its tusks missing in Sol range of BFD and another tusker was killed by suspected poachers in 2010.During 2008, at least two matured tuskers were killed by poachers in Tamra range of Gurundia block in BFD and subsequently, 18 locals were jailed for several months after recovery of ivories from them.