KRISHNAGIRI: A 40-year-old man was arrested for allegedly shooting and killing a female elephant in Jawalagiri Forest Range on Wednesday.
The man, who is a farmer, was arrested two days after the incident.
Wildlife Warden of Hosur Forest Division S Prabhu said that the suspect was M Muthu Mallesh (40) of Chennamaalam village.
The jumbo was part of a herd of elephants from Bannerghatta in Karnataka that had ventured into the Jawlagiri forest range on Monday.
"Muthu is the one who informed the Forest Department that a jumbo was found dead in an elephant-proof trench near his patta land. He was present even during the postmortem examination on Tuesday. We got suspicious when he fled the spot after the examination revealed three pellets had been shot at the elephant's head," Prabhu said.
Another officer from the team added that Muthu tried to mislead the officials by suggesting the jumbo might have died of electrocution. He even tried to eavesdrop on what the officials were discussing.
On suspicion, a six-member team, under the guidance of Assistant Conservator of Forest (training) Jagdish Bakan, was formed. During the inquiry, they secured the suspect on Wednesday morning with an unlicensed country-made gun from his village.
The DFO said that the suspect shot the 10-year-old female elephant just 20 metre away near his farmland. Forest officials are further inquiring to find if any others are involved in the crime.
This is the tenth jumbo death in Krishnagiri from April 2020 to November 2020 and the 13th jumbo death between April 2019 and March 2020. The elephant is the second to have been shot dead in the district in the last four years.
In January 2017, a female elephant was shot dead at Ulibenda village in the same Jawlagiri forest range.