The Tamil Nadu forest department has identified three of the young men who were caught on camera teasing and attacking wild elephants near Thirumoorthy hills, close to Udumalaipettai. The videos of the attack went viral on social media, and on May 6 the police booked the three men along with others involved. None have been arrested yet.
One of the videos shows a gang of youngsters throwing stones and slapping the wild elephants, including a mother and elephant calf. It can also be seen that the mother elephant is trying to protect its calf from getting hurt in the attack. In another video, a youth is seen running in front of an elephant. Another video, purportedly of the same attack shows a group of youngsters sitting on a tree and recording the violence against the wild elephants. And in yet another video, an elephant is seen chasing the youngsters.
After the videos went viral on social media, the forest department officers of Kerala and Tamil Nadu began a probe into the location of the incident and the youngsters involved in it. They finally traced the location back to the Udumalaipettai forest range, near Thirumoorthy hills. The Tamil Nadu Forest department also identified the people in the videos as Kalimuthu (23), Selvam (19), and Arun Kumar (22) who live in the nearby tribal settlements and booked them as well as others who were involved in the attacks. However, the accused are yet to be arrested.
Speaking to TNM, a forest ranger in the Udumalaipettai range said that the department is keeping a close watch on all 12 settlements in the region for the accused. â€śThey still have not returned to their houses here. Once they come, we will arrest them,â€ť he added.
An FIR has been registered under sections 32 (Ban on use of injurious substances), 39 (Wildlife animals to be government property) and 51 (Penalties) of the Wildlife Protection Act.
Watch the videos here: