Elephant killed in firing between forest personnel and smugglers in national park
Firing between forest security personnel and timber smugglers inside the newly formed Dehing Patkai National Park in Assam has resulted in the death of an elephant, who was caught in the crossfire on Monday, officials said.
According to the forest department, the incident took place in the early hours of July 19 when forest personnel intercepted a group of timber smugglers in the Basab Nala area of the park.
Based on specific information, forest personnel had carried out night patrolling inside the park and came across the group of smugglers who were engaged in felling of trees.
The smugglers allegedly fired at the forest team, which retaliated with counter fire. This went on for a few minutes before the smugglers reportedly escaped from the park. Since it was dark, the forest staff too returned back.
Carcass of the female elephant aged around 18 years with bullet injury marks was found at the same spot the next afternoon by the forest team. They also found nine felled trees in the area.
“The circumstantial evidence suggested the elephant was used for dragging of logs by the miscreants. The team further ascertained that the miscreants entered the park from Arunachal Pradesh side,” said an initial report by the forest department on the incident.
An FIR on the incident has been filed at the Jeypore police station and a post-mortem of the carcass was carried out. It was found that the elephant had sustained injuries from three bullets. It is not yet clear if those bullets were fired by forest personnel or the smugglers or both. Further investigation is underway to nab the smugglers.
In another development, a 71-year-old man was killed in an attack by a wild elephant in Digboi forest division on Wednesday morning.