Eight years after forest brigand Veerappan — who attained notoriety for killing elephants in this region for tusk trade — was liquidated, a poaching gang appears to be active as an elephant was shot dead in the Denkanikotta forests on Monday. Passersby alerted the forest department about a dead male elephant in the Andavenapalli area, sources said. Both of its tusks had been yanked off.
When contacted, Dharmapuri Circle Conservator of Forests Iqram Mohammed Shah confirmed the incident. Shah said a 10-year old male elephant was found with a bullet injury on its forehead. A team of forest officials led by District Forest Officer (DFO) A K Ulaganathan has rushed to the spot. Further information would be available after the post-mortem report, he said. “The forest department has formed two special teams to probe the incident,” he added.
Meanwhile, veterinary doctors conducted autopsy at the spot. The carcass is expected to be buried in Ullatti forests, department sources said. This is the first case of elephant poaching in the region after Veerappan was killed in 2004. When Veerappan was alive, the killing of elephants for tusks was common in the forests bordering Tamil Nadu and Karnataka stretching from Mettur, Sathyamangalam, and Madheswaran hills.