The Central Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation into alleged poaching and killing of elephants in the forests of Tamil Nadu. This is an old issue raised by wildlife activists over the years.
In February, this year, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had asked the CBI to probe the larger connections of middlemen, poachers and the kingpins in these killings on the basis of a report submitted by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), read a Hindustan Times report.
On January 5, 2021, CBI had lodged three First Information Reports (FIRs) registered by local police – into the death of an Indian elephant (Elephas Maximus) at Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Hasanur (Tamil Nadu) in December 19, 2020; death of another male elephant in April 2014 in Udumalpet Forest Range (Anamalai Tiger Reserve) and the killing of another elephant at Boluvampatti Forest Range (Coimbatore) on January 5 this year.
In the last few years, elephants have been electrocuted or killed by poachers in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Notably, in an unforgettable incident, a pregnant elephant was killed after it ate a pineapple containing firecrackers in June last year which had led to massive outrage.
It is not clear whether the CBI will probe the death of elephants in Kerala as well.
While ordering a CBI probe, Madras HC had observed that elephant deaths were not just limited to few specific forest areas and that the perpetrators belonged to various states and a CBI probe is necessitated to ensure that the kingpins are nabbed.
“The greed of the man could well be seen from the transaction that happened. It is not a case of poaching for livelihood but of international trade and sadistic pleasure in creating art out of fellow living beings,” the HC had observed.
The directions were issued on a batch of PILs which sought protection of elephants from poaching and electrocution.