Angul: The deaths of three tuskers in Angul district this month have sparked concern among animal lovers and wildlife experts. While two adult tuskers were electrocuted by poachers, the third died due to ill health.
Poachers shot dead a 35-year-old tusker in the Badagunda jungle of Khamar forest range in Deogarh forest division November 9 night. They also took away its tusks worth lakhs.
Although forest officials managed to identify the culprits, no arrests have been made. “We have identified the culprits who killed the tusker. We have also conducted raids but could not nab them. They may have fled to neighbouring districts. We hope to get them soon,” said Ramakanta Sethy, Range Officer of Khamar Range.
Five days after the tusker’s killing in Khamar range, another tusker was electrocuted in Handapa forest range.
The 30-year-old elephant also died after coming in contact with a live wire laid by poachers to kill boars near Hemamura village of Athmallick forest division.
The tusker belonged to a five-member herd that had strayed into the division from Angul. Five persons were arrested by forest officials in this connection.
“We identified the villagers who laid the live wire. The five have been arrested and presented in court,” said Athmallick DFO S. Samantaray.
Similarly, an 8-year-old tusker died in the Jilinda range of Satkosia wild life division November 23. Although the exact reason for the death has not been ascertained, forest officials said that it died of ill health.
Expressing concern over the continuous deaths of elephants in the district, animal lovers urged the forest authorities to take proactive steps to counter it.
“Elephant corridors should be improved, intelligence gathering strengthened and training imparted to tracking teams to detect live wires and prevent the killings of wild animals,” a local said.
Strict action must be taken against poachers who kill wild animals like tuskers, tigers, boars and deer, he added.