In January 2017, a herd of Indian elephants unleashed their wrath on a group of ill-fated poachers who crossed their path.

The herd crushed a suspected poacher to death and severely injured one of his companions in a forest near the Thattekad bird sanctuary located South of Indian.

According to forest officials who spoke to The Indian Express, the two suspected poachers were part of a four-member gang that had illegally entered the restricted forest to hunt.

Unfortunately for the gang, they snuck into the woods late at night and were not vigilant enough to notice that elephants were in their path until it was too late to escape the trap and avoid the stampede.

Forest officials told The Indian Express that:

“One of the gang members, a 26-year-old Tony, was crushed to death by an elephant. In the melee, a loaded unlicensed local gun he was also carrying accidentally went off, hitting his thigh.”

Basil, a 30-year-old who was also one of the gang members, was injured by the elephants during the stampede.

He was later admitted into a private hospital in Aluva, a nearby town, where medical experts revealed that he was in a critical condition.

The incident came to light after two other members of the gang, Anish and Sajith, disclosed what had happed in the forest to friends and relatives and word eventually got to the forest officials.

Poachers Likely To Spend 3-7 Years In Prison

In India, The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was enacted by the Parliament for the protection of endangered animal and plant species.

Before this, India only had five designated national parks.

Among other reforms, the Act provides for the protection of wild animals, birds, and plants; it established schedules of protected plant and animal species; hunting or harvesting these species were prohibited.

The penalty for offenses relating to hunting or altering the boundaries of a sanctuary or national park and those relating to wild animals, their parts and products and the punishment, have been enhanced, the minimum jail term recommended by law is three years.

This may extend to seven years with a minimum fine of Rs. 10,000 (about $140).

Subsequently, if the offender commits the same offense of this nature again, the term of imprisonment shall not be less than three years and may extend to seven years with a minimum fine of Rs. 25,000. 

These penalties are prescribed in section 51, and enforcement of these laws can be performed by agencies such as the Customs, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), the Police, Forest Department, and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Although the official report claims that Anish and Sajith fled town in a hurry, police, however, registered a case against the men under India’s Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Weapons and other hunting equipment were also recovered from the forest where the poachers illegally entered.

While their plan may have been thwarted, poaching remains a threat to the survival of wild animals globally.

Poachers Continue To Threaten The Existence Of African Elephants

Recent studies by researchers from a nonprofit organization, “The Elephant Voices,” have shown that an increasing number of African elephants are born without tusks.

The report states that up to 98% of female elephants in some areas of Africa are lack ivory tusks.

This is an astronomical figure compared to recent averages of between 2 and 6%.

The head of Elephant Voices, Joyce Poole, who has been studying the changes in African elephants for almost 40 years, argued that there is a direct correlation between poaching and the percentage of tuskless calves being born.

She explained that more tuskless elephants survive as poachers kill the elephants with tusks.

A population ends up with a higher proportion of tuskless animals who reproduce and tend to produce tuskless offspring.

In an interview with Nautilus, Poole said:

“In this day and age, with all the poaching going on, tuskless elephants are at an advantage because they are not being targeted for their tusks.”

In the wake of this disturbing new trend, poaching has driven Africa’s elephants to the brink of extinction, in most areas.

Over the last decade, elephant numbers have dropped by 62%.

These poachers have murdered approximately 56 elephants daily between the years of 2007 and 2014.

Those 144,000 murdered elephants (which account for a third of all Africa’s elephants) died mostly to help meet the demand for ivory in the republic of China.

Where ivory is highly prized for its adhesive hardness, mellow color, close-grained texture, and pleasing smoothness.

Commercial uses of ivory include the manufacture of organ keys and piano, handles, billiard balls, and minor objects of decorative value.

In the modern industry, ivory is used to manufacture electrical appliances, including specialized electrical equipment for radar and airplanes.

Due to its many uses, the high demand for elephant ivories will always encourage poachers to hunt and kill these endangered species for financial gains.

However, strict anti-poaching laws like India’s Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 will put the activities of these poachers in check.

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