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Domestic tusker targeted by poachers

6th February, 2003

In a shocking incident a domestic tusker was killed and an attempt was made to extract its tusks in Kalady, Kerala. The gruesome killing was reported on the morning of 2nd February 2003.

Preliminary investigations suggest that the tusker, which was tied only a short distance away from the main road was, administered a potent poison concealed in a pineapple. The poison instantly killed the large animal leaving the poachers time to hack off its forehead and trunk in an attempt to obtain the tusks. However, the movement of a lorry carrying stacks of hay in the early hours on Sunday seemed to have alarmed the culprits who left the mutilated body of the tusker and disappeared. The driver of the lorry discovered the horrific killing and informed the police. It is believed that professionals carried out the job and that the poison used was Potassium Cyanide.

The 40-year-old tusker named Arun Parameswaran, reputed to have the largest tusks in the district, was owned by the State president of the All-Kerala Elephant Owners Association. He was a regular attraction during temple festivities and was much loved thanks to his docile and friendly nature.

This appalling incident is an indicator of both the audacity of poachers, and the profitability of ivory trade. It is perhaps the first recorded case of its kind. Targeting domestic tuskers has been unheard of in the past. In an incident with some similarity poachers in October 2000 killed a tigress inside the zoo in Hyderabad.

Selective poaching of male elephants for ivory has over the years skewed the sex ration in favour of females in most parts of south India.

 



 

 

 

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