Environmentalists see threat to wildlife

Staff Reporter

Cite recent electrocution of elephant, poisoning of leopard in Palakkad Forest Division

PALAKKAD: The Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) has demanded a detailed investigation into the recent killing of wild animals in the Parambikulam-Nelliampathy-Vazhachal forest areas of Western Ghats, proposed as a tiger reserve.

In a statement here on Sunday, regional coordinator of WPSI S. Guruvayurappan said that while the whole world was celebrating Environment Week, an adult wild elephant was poached by electrocution in a private estate, near Dhoni, in the Palakkad Forest Division.

The poachers had meticulously removed the evidence and the Forest officials were also about to close the incident as case of natural death. But, WPSI had collected evidence of electrocution. The piles of elephant dung, the unnatural posture of the dead elephant etc. were other evidence which pointed to the cause of the unnatural death.

This had helped the Forest Department file a case and arrest the accused. Cases were registered against four persons and three of them were arrested.Two of the accused, George and Biju, were previously engaged in sale of illicit liquor and hunting of wildlife, including sambar deers and wild boars, for selling their meat, the statement said.

In another incident in the Nelliampathy hills in the district, a leopard was found in a critical condition by tea estate workers. It was found that the animal had consumed poison mixed in cattle meat.The doctors had said that there were major injuries to its head and neck. The animal was in a serious condition and had been undergoing treatment at Veteranary College, Mannuthy, Thrissur for the last one week.

The leopard had not yet started taking food. When the animal was transferred from Nemmara, it was taking water and was able to stand. Now its condition had worsened. Disturbance from human beings and separation from its mother leopard was worsening the situation. What had happened to the mother and the other cubs were not known, Mr. Guruvayurappan said.

A detailed investigation on the killing of wildlife in Nelliampathy, Parambikulam and the Vazhachal forests was urgently needed to curtail poaching and ensure protection of wildlife, he said.

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