Three arrested for stealing tusks from elephant carcass

The skeleton was found without tusks by forest staff on Oct. 24

The Forest Department on Thursday arrested three persons on charges of stealing a pair of tusks from the carcass of a wild elephant in Boluvampatti forest range limits, near Coimbatore, last month.

Officials said that the accused — V. Maruthupandy (27), K. Raman alias Thambi (50) and V. Chinnan (50), all residents of Thanikandi tribal settlement in Boluvampatti forest range — stole the tusks and hid them in the forest with the intention of selling them.

The elephant’s skeleton, with its tusks missing, was found by the frontline staff of the Department in a reserve forest area of Poondi south beat of Vellapathy section of Boluvampatti forest range on October 24.

Forest Veterinary Officer A. Sukumar, who examined the skeleton, was of the view that the tusks could have been removed around 40 days after the elephant’s death. The cause of death could not be ascertained.

The Department conducted extensive searches inside the forest and found a pair of tusks hidden under bushes, nearly 430 metres from the place where the skeleton was found.

A DNA examination confirmed that the tusks belonged to the dead elephant.

According to District Forest Officer T.K. Ashok Kumar, the tusks were produced before a court on November 1. With the assistance of fingerprint experts and the cyber cell of police, the accused were identified.

The accused allegedly confessed to the Forest Department officials that they spotted the carcass when they went to the forest to collect bamboo shoots. They stole the tusks and hid them inside the forest with the intention of selling them, said the officer.

The three were arrested and produced before a magistrate on Thursday. They were remanded in judicial custody in Bhavani sub-jail in Erode district.

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