Pregnant buffalo killed for its meat in Kerala, six held

The forest officials recovered 25 kg meat from the house of the first accused during a raid on August 10.
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On August 10, the officials of the Chakkikuzhi Forest Station in Malappuram district of Kerala had received a tip-off that some men were consuming wild animal meat. In an overnight raid, they seized about 25 kilograms of meat. “At the time, we did not know what wild animal it was. We assumed it was of a deer. However, during the course of the investigation, we found that it was the meat of a wild buffalo. Based on the statement of the accused and bones we recovered from the site, we also learnt that the buffalo was pregnant when it was killed,” P Suresh, the range officer of Kalikavu Range of Nilambur South Forest Division, told TNM.

Although the accused managed to abscond at the time of the raid, the officials of Kalikavu Range managed to arrest six persons. While Suresh Babu was arrested on Sunday, five more persons were arrested the following day, on Monday: Abu alias Nanippa (47), Muhammed Ansif (23), Muhammed Busthan (30), Suhail (28) and Ashiq (27).

According to officials, the wild buffalo is said to have been hunted and killed at Puncha Forest in Chakkikuzhi forest station, which comes under Kalikavu range. All the accused are natives of Puncha. The forest officials recovered the meat from the house of Abu, who is the main accused in the case.

It was only after the accused were arrested that the forest officials found that it was buffalo meat and that the bovine was pregnant. “We recovered animal bones from the site when we took there accused persons for evidence collection. Among the bones, we found the small bones, which we believed belonged to its calf. The team, which analysed the bones, confirmed that it belonged to a calf. Later, the accused persons confessed that the buffalo was pregnant with a calf when they killed it, although they said they did not consume the calf’s meat,” said Suresh. 

The officials have been able to seize meat only from Abu, who was also in possession of a country-made gun and other weapons used for hunting. The six persons have been booked under various sections of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972, for illegal hunting and trade. 

“For almost 10 days after the raid, we did not know what meat it was, and so we filed a case as the meat of a wild animal. Although we produced the accused persons in court based on the preliminary report, we will soon file a final report mentioning buffalo meat,” said the range officer.

The officials also said that based on the preliminary inquiry it has been found that Abu was previously involved in hunting wild animals, although they are still investigating it.   

This incident comes over two months after a pregnant elephant succumbed to its mouth injures and starvation in Palakkad a week after it bit a fruit stuffed with explosives, which was meant to snare wild boars. The pachyderm’s death had caused a nationwide outrage, which prompted officials to arrest three persons in the case: Abdul Kareem, Riyazuddin (rubber plantation owners) and Wilson Joseph (rubber tapper).

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