'No let-up in poaching of elephants around city'

BANGALORE, AUG. 30. Poaching of elephants in the wildlife sanctuaries around Bangalore continues, according to an investigation carried out by Mr. S.Sridhar and Mr. V.Sudhindra of the City-based Institute for Conservation, Education, Research and Training (INCERT).

In the latest incident, an elephant estimated to be between 40 and 45 years old, was killed in the early hours of August 28, at Kongedoddi village, 1 km. ahead of the Cauvery-Arkavathi Sangam, in the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary area, a short drive from the City.

When the INCERT team reached the village on the afternoon of August 29, they saw the elephant's carcass being burnt by two Forest Watchers, Seena Nayak and Bala Nayak, who had found it. The elephant might have been shot just a stone's throw away from the main road leading to the sangam. According to the forest personnel, examination of the carcass showed that an iron nail had been fired from a muzzle loader (of the type commonly used by village poachers) and it had entered the left side of the elephant's head, just behind the ear, and probably caused its instantaneous death. Hunters prefer this shot as it almost always kills the elephant, entering the brain.

The forest guards had started to burn the carcass from the morning of August 28, using two lorry loads of firewood. The upper jaw portion had been burnt first. When the INCERT team arrived, the hind portion, lower jaw and legs of the animal were yet to be burnt completely.

This particular patch of forest where the elephant was shot dead, falls within the Muguru State Forest limits and has been partly encroached upon by villagers for cultivation.