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Poacher held in Odisha; confesses to killing 20 tuskers

Odisha’s Forest Department personnel have arrested a poacher who reportedly confessed to having killed 20 elephants, mostly tuskers, in his lifetime.

Babuli Mahalik, a shooter in a wildlife smuggling gang, was caught based on a tip-off.

“After receiving information about the smuggling gang, we had constituted a team which was tasked to follow its members in disguise. He [Mahalik] was finally picked up from his home in Durgaprasad village near Narsinghpur in Cuttack,” said Sasmita Lenka, Divisional Forest Officer, Athagarh.

Deer skins, antlers and a country-made guns were seized from his possession. The gang used to follow elephant herds before zeroing in on one tusker. “They generally set up camp deep inside the forest or atop a hillock to keep a tab on the herd. They then separate a tusker from its herd and shoot down the animal at an isolated spot,” Ms. Lenka said.

The poacher charged ₹30,000 for every bullet he shot. Mahalik was arrested from Boudh district for a wildlife crime in 2019. “During the interrogation, he confessed to having killed 20 elephants in the past. In 2018, he and his accomplices were responsible for the beheading of two elephants in our division,” Ms. Lenka said.

The crime branch of the Odisha police were also investigating the poaching of two elephants in Athagarh.

The gang is known to sell tusks in the neighbouring Nayagarh district. Forest Department officials have expanded their probe to find out how the gang operates.

In another case, two persons were arrested by the Forest Department officials for their alleged involvement in an elephant poaching case in Subarnapur district on Saturday.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 3:58:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/poacher-held-in-odisha-confesses-to-killing-20-tuskers/article30777444.ece

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