On Monday, two elephant carcasses were found by field staff in MM Hills forest range in Chamrajnagar. The two elephants aged 20 and 35 were shot dead by a gang of poachers, who have removed the tusks.
The spot, Mullipanjara Doddi near Palar in MM Hills, where the carcasses were found, is 5km from the Tamil Nadu border. This has led the forest officials to suspect poachers from neighbouring state to have committed the crime.
An IFS officer told the Times of India that the elephants are suspected to have been shot dead in the forest last week.
“The poachers have removed the tusks and decamped. We have requested Tamil Nadu foresters to help us investigate the case,” he told the newspaper
The officer said the carcasses were found 1 km from each other, indicating that they were attacked in the same area and possibly on the same day. The terrain was hilly and it took some 10 hours to reach the spot, he told TOI.
The Hindu report told that there are speculations that there could also be a link with the recent increase of poaching incidents reported in Kerala, which could be a part of a larger network of international dealers in wildlife products engaged in illegal ivory trade.
The TOI quoted an activist, who did not want to be named, saying, “Going by the way the tusks have been removed, it is a clear indication that poachers are involved in the attack.”
The officials of State Forest Department met with their counterparts from Tamil Nadu to exchange information and get coordinated action.
The PCCF (wildlife) Ravi Ralph and other senior officials, who rushed to the spot, told that additional staff will be deployed in the area to check poaching activities.
Sources told TOI that the post-mortem of the two tuskers will be done on Tuesday. The foresters have asked for metal detectors to locate the gun shots.
Until the poachers successfully dispose the tusks they go underground.
A wildlife activist told TOI that small poachers are active in the area but there is no organized gang. But sometime back, a gang from Tamil Nadu was active in the area.