| Domestic tusker targeted
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
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.