|Jumbos poisoned at Simlipal; carcasses found in core area
The Pioneer, MONDAY, 07 MAY 2012
MOUSHUMI BASU | NEW DELHI
massacre has recurred in Maoist-ridden Simlipal Tiger Reserve (STR) in
Odisha with four charred carcasses of elephants being exhumed from the
core area of the reserve. A series of jumbo killings were reported in
The cause of death of these tuskers is said to be
poisoning by Thymate — a strong pesticide used by farmers. The forest
department was caught totally off guard when the local activists and
villagers informed them of the incident on Sunday.
There was a
yet another case of tusker poisoning last week in STR, taking the
recent toll of elephant poaching to 5. A total of 26 elephants have
been poached in the reserve since the past two years.
Society of Odisha (WSO) member organization of National Board For
Wildlife (NBWL) has come out strongly against National Tiger
Conservation Authority (NTCA) for its failure to enforce the
recommendations of two successive enquiry committees set up to enquire
into elephant deaths in 2010 and 2011.
The poachers are said to be a part of floating population crossing over from neighbouring Jharkhand to the bordering reserve.
was recently that Environment Ministry’s “Haathi Mere Saathi”
initiative to save elephants had been taken up in the villages in and
around Simlipal Tiger Reserve. Bhanumitra Acharya, wildlife activist
and core group member of Haathi Mere Saathi along with Sanjukta Basa,
Honorary Wildlife warden STR, were the first to report on the recent
“ Four half burnt carcasses of elephants have
been dug out from Nawna (S) range, Balikhal beat and Palpala 10
compartment of STR.”, says Acharya who returned from the forest on
Sunday after two days of exhuming operations in the forest. The
elephants were found buried in 2-3 feet deep pits at a distance of
about 50 feet from the site where they were burnt.
Of these, one
was a tusker whose tusks had been poached. The other three happened to
be a female elephant along with her two calves. After the forest
department was caught completely off guard on the incident, PCCF
ordered an enquiry with Acharya, Basa and local forest officials to
look into the matter.
“It is but obvious that the range officer
had kept the top reserve officials in the dark and we can not
overlook the possibilities of his complicity in the incident”, felt
The Field Director STR Anup Naik confirmed of the
incident. “These elephants have been killed by the use of thymate. Salt
lick areas are created by the illicit tree fellers, by pouring the left
over solution of fermented rice that they carry with them in the forest
for their food. The pesticide is added to a mixture of scented
soap, salt, mustard oil and leaves dug into small pits. The smell of
salt not only lures the elephants but even sambars and cheetals are
also drawn to these areas when they eventually succumb to the toxic
mix, regretted Nayak.