Phulbani/Tumudibandh: An elephant was found dead at a jungle near Belghar-Jhiripani road under Belghar forest limits in Kandhamal district Thursday.
The elephant is said to be four to five years old. However, the manner in which the forest personnel tried to conceal the incident from the villagers and hurriedly buried the carcass has raised many eyebrows.
Jhiripani sarpanch Arjun Patra alleged that the forest personnel without informing him as the local people’s representative hurriedly buried the carcass at late night after conducting its post-mortem. Patra said he and other villagers were barred from visiting the site while the post-mortem was conducted.
He alleged that the forest wing in the area has become complacent and is not taking any steps to save the villagers from crop damage by the pachyderms nor is monitoring the movement of the animals.
Villagers suspected that the animal might be a tusker and might have been decapitated by poachers for its ivory. Their suspicion stems from the fact that the forest officials while claiming that it as a female elephant are only showing the photograph of its rear portion. Netra Manseth, former wildlife warden of Kotagarh sanctuary, expressed serious concerns over the lapses and demanded a high-level inquiry.
Sources said the jungle is part of an elephant corridor. When contacted, forest ranger Mani Chandra Patra ruled out the allegations stating that the reality over the animal’s death will be known after availability of the post-mortem report.