Blackened mouths, bloody nostrils…three jumbos poisoned

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

BHUBANESWAR - Three female elephants are suspected to have been poisoned to death, as they were found with blackened mouths and blood oozing from their nostrils in Orissa’s Similipal National Park.

The carcasses of the jumbos were spotted within the core area of the park Sunday, park field director H.S. Upadhyaya told IANS adding the jumbos were poisoned.

In April last year, about seven elephants were found dead in the same park, prompting union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh to send a team of experts for a field visit.

Poachers might have kept poisoned food targeting tuskers - male elephants - which was instead consumed by female elephants, Upadhyaya said. The carcasses had blackened mouths and there was blood coming out of the nostrils, he said.

Orissa is home to 1,886 elephants, according to last year’s census. Similipal in Mayurbhanj district, some 320 km from here, houses about 400 of them, he said.

“The state government has deliberately neglected the protection of wildlife in Similipal in spite of several directives from the centre,” Biswajit Mohanty, secretary of NGO Wildlife Society of Orissa, told IANS.

“We apprehend that this is being done so that iron mining can be allowed in future in the area,” he said.

During the past two years, at least 50 elephants have been killed in the state by poachers and not a single forest official has been made accountable for the crimes, Mohanty said.

Expressing concern over the increasing incidence of elephant killings in the state, Ramesh had also written to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik seeking protection for the pachyderms.

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