The Gudalur forest division has busted a major trafficking ring, believed to be involved in illegal trade of elephant tusks and tiger parts.
According to sources, 11 accused, including a forest watcher employed by the Department, have been detained by the Forest Department in connection with the seizures. “Many of the accused have links with kingpins in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu,” added the sources. The operation to completely identify the traffickers is still on. Teams from the protection, vigilance, and wildlife crime bureau as well as from the Forest Department have currently combed out across different parts of south India looking to identify and arrest the key players.
The Department was also in the process of identifying whether the parts were seized from animals after they were hunted, or were harvested from animals that were found dead in the forests. The primary area of operation of the gang was Mudumalai, Gudalur and Nilgiris divisions. So far, no weapons had been seized from the accused, the sources said.
The Forest Department is expected to remand the accused in judicial custody soon.