Athagarh: Forest officials arrested one more person Tuesday for his alleged involvement in the poaching of a female elephant in Athagarh district December 13.
The accused was sent to custody after his bail plea was rejected by a court, the police said.
As per the case diary, the carcass of a seven-year-old elephant was found near Taila village in Sukasan forest range of Athagarh December 13. A team of forest officials launched a probe into the jumbo’s death.
During the probe the officials understood that the pachyderm had died due to a ‘bomb’. Athagarh DFO Sasmita Lenka confirmed that poaching killed the jumbo.
Earlier, the forest officials had arrested a person of Rajanagar in this connection. His detention had sparked tension in the area and villagers had gheraoed the DFO’s office.
While locals claimed that the pachyderm died of natural causes, forest officials and the veterinary team said the jumbo was killed by a bomb. The female jumbo reportedly had a deep cut on its tongue.
Two weeks after the first arrest, the forest department Tuesday made the second arrest.
Locals first spotted the pachyderm lying in a pool of blood in a brinjal field near their village December 13.
Forest officials led by assistant conservator of forest (ACF) Rajendra Kumar Das, range officer Rabindra Nayak and veterinary officer Susant Kumar Behera rushed to the spot. A team of veterinary surgeons from OUAT led by Prof. Dr Niranjan Sahoo also reached the spot and conducted a post-mortem on the dead jumbo.
During the autopsy the doctors found that the elephant’s tongue was chafed and lower jaws broken. The officials confirmed that the pachyderm had eaten a bomb planted by the poachers, and that it had exploded inside its mouth killing it.
Last year, was a bad one for animals, especially elephants. Many elephants were killed in 2018 due to various reasons. This includes the electrocution of seven jumbos in Dhenkanal.
Locals attributed the jumbo deaths due to lack of patrolling and monitoring of poachers. As the Sukasan reserve forest has a huge population of wild boars, poachers use bombs to kill them. As per reports, five elephants have died in the forest in as many months.
There are allegations that some forest officials are hand in glove with poachers.
Expressing concern over the rising deaths of elephants, environmentalists have demanded strong action against poachers and unscrupulous forest officials.