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21 September 2005 @ 10:06 pm
The most beautiful tusker I've seen and the most well-behaved one as well. Tall and handsome he was and had a beautiful pair of tusks. As soon as I saw him feeding on the roadside bamboo, my heart pounded with excitement - a tusker in musth - the most unpredictible animal in our forests and the most powerful one as well. He had strength to mow down our flimsy open-top jeep and trample everyone of us to dust if he wished to, yet he walked by calmly and gave us a look or two just to make sure we were not too close to him. It was a wonderful twenty minutes which we had with him and that's never going to happen again.

This beautiful animal was found shot dead a kilometer outside the Bandipur forest boundary this morning. A sad end to a mighty creature.

I'm just a little too disappointed to write anything more. It's as if I've lost someone who I've known for all my life, someone precious. All I can do now is look at his photograph. The return to Bandipur is never going to be the same again.

Bye bye

Current Mood: depresseddepressed
IdahoSwedeidahoswede on September 21st, 2005 02:10 pm (UTC)
teemus on September 21st, 2005 02:38 pm (UTC)
Pennyaellia on September 21st, 2005 03:22 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Praveenpraveenk on September 21st, 2005 03:28 pm (UTC)
How and why? Was it the poachers or was it some maniac (some people kill leopards which stray out of parks) who killed it bcos it was out of the forest area..
It feels sick to see a wild animal die..
Yathinyathin on September 21st, 2005 10:37 pm (UTC)
Maybe poachers or even farmers. Nobody knows and no one will. "Investigation is on" and that's the close of chapter... Forest officials will come and go, but the case will be a mystery. :(
Jayseakaredpirk on September 21st, 2005 03:31 pm (UTC)
ugh..some people suck. such a shame :(
Dilip Sankarreddydilip on September 21st, 2005 10:54 pm (UTC)
Is it for the tusks OR is it becos encroachers of forest land could stand this animal trampling their farms??
Yathinyathin on September 21st, 2005 10:55 pm (UTC)
It could be either, the tusks were not removed so it's either a half successful poaching attempt or a farmer. Nobody knows.
Premnath Kudvapremkudva on September 21st, 2005 11:31 pm (UTC)
I'm just a little too disappointed to write anything more.

eh_doniaeh_donia on September 22nd, 2005 03:00 am (UTC)
Me too. Its just SO sad.
Sajith T Ssajith on September 21st, 2005 11:48 pm (UTC)
A sad day indeed :(

Any amount of spending on wildlife reserves and protection will be incomplete without education and participation of the people that live in the periphery of the forests. This participatory approach more or less works fine in Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala, thanks to some enthusiastic officers who dared the tides (I don't know any of them, but they are my heroes today. May their tribe thrive.) Tribals who were earlier averse to the whole idea now find their livelihood from growing spices, and ex-poachers and cinnamon bark collectors are now wildlife guards.
Yathinyathin on September 22nd, 2005 12:08 am (UTC)
In Bandipur too the locals are employed by the forest department, but you know the small pay scales of government jobs...

Bandipur and Nagarhole possibly have the highest density of tuskers (Indian elephants) in the country. As far as I know poaching is still rampant in Kerala and even earlier this year poachers caught in Bandipur were from neighbouring Kerala. The Tusker to non-tusker ratio is something like 1:12 in Bandipur-Nagarhole and in Kerala it is 1:100 (some reports claim 1:200 or more)!!!

And unfortunately Periyar is still rated the worst place to be for a tusker.

Here's an old report: (2001)

The number can only be worse now.

Sajith T Ssajith on September 22nd, 2005 12:25 am (UTC)
True, tuskers are most unfortunate in Kerala - in the wild, and those "tamed." Indeed there is hard data to prove that poaching is rampant in Kerala. And the forest cover had been shrinking at an alarming pace (from about 40% at the time of independence to the current 7% or so - quoting from memory, can't find the figures rightaway. Alarming is perhaps not a sufficient word. Offial figures boast of a higher coverage of course.)

That is why I said "more or less worked." The activism may not be perfect, but the reports from Periyar are signs of changes for the better, on which I'm trying to find solace. The more people they could kept away from poaching, the better. What I was trying to say that this is probably a good model of conservation. The forest departments will be always understaffed, and underpaid - given that society's primary interests are elsewhere. Some kind of sustainable model should be evolved.
Yathinyathin on September 22nd, 2005 12:32 am (UTC)
> True, tuskers are most unfortunate in Kerala - in the wild, and those "tamed."

Everytime I go to Guruvayur, it's hard for me to go around the temple and see so many magnificient chained tuskers.

> What I was trying to say that this is probably a good model of conservation

Definitely is. I've seen tribals employed in Anamalais, Parambikulam and the Karnataka forests. But, the human population is growing like madness and it is not possible for all tribals to be employed and those that remain unemployed will do anything for a small sum of money.
shruthi_dipalishruthi_dipali on September 21st, 2005 11:59 pm (UTC)
oh man.. this is horrible.. Just too sad.. I wish this changes.. :(
Shyam Manifox2mike on September 22nd, 2005 02:15 am (UTC)

Vyshnavivyshnavi on September 22nd, 2005 02:34 am (UTC)
Just look at his smile in the last picture. :(
arucard2 on September 22nd, 2005 03:03 am (UTC)
:( beautiful animal.
preethipreets on September 22nd, 2005 03:46 am (UTC)
:( shucks!
Chaitra Sureshchaitrasuresh on September 22nd, 2005 06:38 am (UTC)
Truly depressing :(
riotofreasonsriotofreasons on September 27th, 2005 01:39 am (UTC)

Is there something we can do about this ? I am sure all your readers and friends are outraged. I am pretty sure many will be ready to do something about it. At the very very least, can we submit a petition or letter or something. Just to let the authorities know that there are people who care about these animals.

btw... What is sarath saying about this ?
Yathinyathin on September 27th, 2005 01:51 am (UTC)
Bandipur and Nagarhole are two of the best places in India in terms of protection these animals get and yet such cases happen once in a while. Bandipur is a favourite haunt of many high profile conservationists and I am sure they are voicing their opinions and concerns.
(Anonymous) on October 7th, 2005 02:27 am (UTC)
Tusker killers nabbed
Deccan Herald » District » Detailed Story

Tusker killers nabbed, Dept gets public support

Mysore, dhns:

The officials of forest department have done a commendable job in identifying and nabbing the poachers, who had killed a male elephant on September 20 in Kallipura village, in Gundlupet range of Kollegal division.

The poachers, named Sabreesha, son of Gangadhar Gowda, aged 21 years and Prasad Murthy, son of Sreenivas Gowda, aged 21 years, who are residents of Kallipura village, surrendered before the Forest Mobile Squad, Kollegal and Assistant Conservator of Forests, Gundlupet on October 5, due to the pressure created on them by the forest officials.

“The villagers and some of the local politicians, played an important role in forcing these two culprits to surrender before the forest officials, thus highlighting the public support for forest and wildlife conservation,” Kumar Pushkar, DCF, Kollegal Division.

The DCF, Bandipur and his staff, ACF, Gundlupet and his staff, ACF, Forest Mobile Squad, Kollegal and his team and the Police Squad, Forest Cell, Chamrajnagar, played very important role in cracking the case, leading to the arrest of these poachers.

The huge tusker, about 50 years in age, was shot dead, within the limits of Kallipura village, near Gopalaswamy Betta in Gundlupet taluk on 20.09.2005, in the early hours.

Mr Pushkar said due to the inexperience of these poachers and probably alarm raised by some villagers, they ran away from the spot. The dead body of the elephant was immediately detected by a vigilant staff from Bandipur Wildlife Division, who reported the matter to us and also ensured that both the tusks are recovered, intact from the spot, he added.

The elephant was shot, with a powerful muzzle loading gun, into its right temple, when it was drinking water inside the forest tank, at around 5 am and the elephant fell dead, right on the spot.

He said the poachers did not get the opportunity to remove the tusk. The post-mortem, conducted on the same afternoon, revealed that a 2.5 cm steel rod was used in the gun as a projectile. The circumstances, on the spot, revealed the probability of local people involved in this case of poaching.

“During interrogations and investigations over next 24 hours, we could get the names and addresses of these two poachers but unfortunately, by that time, these two offenders had absconded. Our officials persistently pursued this case, and kept on chasing these offenders at various locations. Under their pressure and the pressure mounted on them by the local villagers and politicians, these two offenders were forced to surrender,” Mr Pushkar said.

A forest offence case was booked by Gundlupet Range Forest Officer on 20.09.2005, for hunting of elephant (Schedule-I animal) and thus, violating section 9 and 39 of Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.

As per the Wildlife Protection Act-1972, Section-51, this offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 3 years but may extend to 7 years and also with fine which shall not be less than Rs 10,000.

Both the elephant tusks, weighing about 22 kilos and more than 1.3 meter in length have been recovered. The muzzle loading gun used for this dastardly act, has also been recovered.
Yathinyathin on October 7th, 2005 02:32 am (UTC)
Re: Tusker killers nabbed
Thanks for the info. At least they were caught, it's upto the cops now to trace how they planned to sell it and hopefully catch the main culprits.
Preethifiveonehalf on October 7th, 2005 07:05 am (UTC)
Re: Tusker killers nabbed
The elephant was shot, with a powerful muzzle loading gun, into its right temple, when it was drinking water inside the forest tank, at around 5 am and the elephant fell dead, right on the spot.
God! that's so sad. Glad they were caught. Hope they get the highest form of punishment, even if not for the justice sake(cause you can't bring back the elephant to life), just to prevent other poachers from doing the same thing.
Yathinyathin on October 7th, 2005 07:18 am (UTC)
Re: Tusker killers nabbed
The highest punishment they can get is Rs. 10000 and 7 years in jail!!!!!
riotofreasonsriotofreasons on October 20th, 2005 12:33 am (UTC)

I wrote a few lines about this whole thing. I also linked to your photograph. I hope that is okay.

Yathinyathin on October 20th, 2005 02:20 am (UTC)
> I hope that is okay.

No problem at all. :)