India: After five days of search operation, forest officials in Uttarakhand have found both the tusks of a dead elephant on Tuesday. The first tusk was found from four poachers on March 17, while search for another was on. On Tuesday, four more poachers were nabbed with the second tusk from Rampur road.
The tusk set was taken out by the poachers in a planned manner from an adult jumbo which had died nearly a month ago due to “infighting”. The poachers were from Uttarakhand and were taking the tusks to other states, according to the search operation team members. On March 17, four poachers were nabbed with the ivory taken out from an adult elephant in Terai Central forest division. On the same day, the carcass of the elephant was found by the teams. The post-mortem report confirmed that the carcass was nearly a month old, raising fingers at the laxity of the forest department in patrolling. Frontline forest staffers were immediately removed.
The poachers had either seen the dead jumbo or were informed by the forest frontline staff. They had cut out tusks from the jumbo to sell them in the international market at a promising price. The jumbo according to the forest staff died in “infighting” as per the autopsy report. The ivory is used for multiple items ranging from jewellery, utensils, showpiece, medicine to good luck charm in several countries, including India.
Its trade and possession are illegal.
Speaking with TOI, divisional forest officer of Terai Central, Abhilasha Singh, said, “We were scanning the forests round the clock and didn’t want the poachers to run away with the ivory. And finally we caught them with it.”
When asked about the patrolling, a senior IFS officer in the department raised questions on the poor workforce at the dispense of DFOs. He told TOI, “Terai Central forest division has 150 posts sanctioned for the Forest Guard. There are just about 50 guards currently. In the given situation each guard is responsible to scan minimum 2-3 beats amid the scare of wildlife, timber mafias as well other threats.
(Source: The Times of India)