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Animal rights group demands probe into deaths of jumbos

The Thrissur-based outfit Heritage Animal Task Force also enclosed the photo of one of such wounded carcasses along with the letter, which was released to media.

By: PTI | Thiruvananthapuram |
December 17, 2016 4:11:59 pm
Thiruvananthapuram, elephant death Thiruvananthapuram, Heritage Animal Task Force, HATF thiruvananthapuram, india news HATF secretary V K Venkitachalam said in all the five cases, the lower level forest officials, ranging from Range officer to Forest Guard, supervised the post mortem of such carcasses.. (AP Photo/Representational)

Noted animal rights campaigner, Heritage Animal Task Force has demanded a probe into the frequent deaths of wild elephants inside Athirappilly–Vazhachal forests in Thrissur district, about 260 kms from Thiruvananthapuram. In the last 17 days, carcasses of five wild jumbos with wounds all over the body, have been found inside the forest area, the HATF said in a letter sent to Director of Project Elephant, under the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest.

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The Thrissur-based outfit also enclosed the photo of one of such wounded carcasses along with the letter, which was released to media. HATF secretary V K Venkitachalam said in all the five cases, the lower level forest officials, ranging from Range officer to Forest Guard, supervised the post mortem of such carcasses.

“It is in violation of a state government order dated September 10, 2015, which specifically states that the conduct of the post mortem of any carcass of protected wild species surfaced inside forest area must be done only in the presence of Chief Conservator of that territory,” he said in the letter.

Such an order was issued by the government after the revelation of a poacher that his gang had killed 21 tuskers from forest areas of Athirappilly,Vazhachal, Edamalayar, Pooyamkutty and Mathikettan in the state during the period between 2011 to 2013, it said.

The then State Forest Minister Thiruvanchur Radhakrishnan had directed the Forest Secretary to issue the G.O. “But for the past 17 days, all the carcasses of five elephants were subjected to post mortem without the physical presence of the central circle conservator of Thrissur who have office at Paravattany which is only 40 kms away from the Athirappilly- Vazhachal Area,” he alleged in the letter.

The campaigner also stated that the viscera samples of the dead animals were not sent to the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, to verify the actual cause of its death. The forest department was yet to conduct any formal inquiry into this type of serial deaths of wild elephants inside a forest area which was developed using crores of money granted by UNESCO, he said adding a comprehensive probe should be conducted into the incidents.

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