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Killing zone of elephants
Correspondent DIPHU, SEPT 21:
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Published on 22 Sep. 2009 1:02 AM IST
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Poachers have gunned down an elephant and chopped off its tusks and trunk in Karbi Anglong district on the southern banks of the Brahmaputra near the Kaziranga National Park. Forest officials found the carcass of the jumbo, with the mark of a bullet wound on its head Saturday last. According to sources, the elephant could have been killed about “two days ago”. A machete, belonging to a particular tribal group, was found in the area that lies between Panbari Reserve Forest near Kaziranga and Dalamara forest range in Karbi Anglong. Incidentally, elephants often use Panbari as a corridor to move between Kaziranga and Karbi Anglong. “The injury marks showed that a rifle was used to kill the jumbo. In all probability, the poachers used the machete to cut off its trunk. They have killed the elephant in a gruesome manner,” said Garga Mohan Das, project officer of WWF-India’s Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong Landscape Conservation Programme. “This is very worrying. We fear that the gang of poachers, who killed the elephant, might also target jumbos in Panbari and its adjoining areas,” he added. Honourary wildlife warden (Golaghat) Arup Goswami said it would be very difficult to save the elephants, rhinos and tigers in the area if the government does not construct a foolproof security network. “Most of the animals are killed in transit between Kaziranga and Karbi Anglong. We aren’t worried about the security of animals living in the protected areas like Kaziranga. Our concern is what happens to them once they go out of such areas. In fact, the poachers lie in wait for animals moving out of Kaziranga,” he added. Though elephants are frequently injured during conflicts with human beings in Golaghat and adjoining Karbi Anglong, forest officials said poaching of jumbos is a rare incidence. The last time an elephant was killed by poachers in the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong landscape was around two years ago. In fact, Golaghat and the adjoining areas of Karbi Anglong have emerged as one of the most intense man-elephant conflict zones. People often use firearms to chase away herds of wild pachyderms, increasing the risk of them succumbing to bullet wounds. Till recent years, elephants used to pass through the Panbari Reserve Forest in Golaghat to Karbi Anglong and Nagaland without any disturbance. But the situation is no more the same. The entire route, which traditionally covered areas like Panjir Pahar, Kakokchang, Deothar, and up to Nambor-Garampani and Lengrapahar, is in a shambles owing to endless encroachment and relentless deforestation.

 
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