investigative field report dated 3rd October 2002
Litany of Wildlife Week (Weak) Amid Elephant Carnage
Wildlife Week (Weak) has a special significance for the state of Karnataka. Even
as the senior guardians of our wildlife indulged in a three hour long litany on 1st October 2002, at the Bannerghatta National
Park, to celebrate the wildlife week (weak), wildlife in the Nagarhole National
park, especially the wild elephants are becoming weaker and weaker, week by week. To put the point straight, seven tuskers
have succumbed to poachers bullets in just twice the number of weeks, inside the Nagarhole National Park.
Nagarhole National Park has acquired the dubious distinction, not only as a smugglers haven but also as a poachers paradise
in recent months. Three months ago, INCERT Investigation team had investigated and reported several cases of large scale looting
of the forest wealth and removal of Sandal wood trees from this National park. INCERT and other agencies had also reported
with graphic, photographic and videographic accounts, the brutal killing of elephants, maiming of tigers, and decapitating
of deer in the and around the national park.
even a kernel of seriousness
these investigative reports were published, much hue and cry were made in the media and the legislature and it was expected
that some measures will be taken by the authorities to address this problem with an iron hand. But shockingly, the authorities
have not exhibited even a kernel of seriousness and have preferred to remain unconscious to the timber looting problem. So
also they have remained unconscious to the fatal plight of the pachyderms. Lamentably,
large scale deforestation and poaching activities are continuing till date. Some seven tuskers have been shot dead
by poachers inside the national park, in the intervening two months. Thanks to the chronic
apathy of the authorities. Their perpetual laxity and inertia to tackle this escalating problem, has undeniably exacerbated
the feelings of the wildlife lovers all over the country and abroad.
Saws and Unrestrained Cruelty
INCERT investigation team has stumbled on the brutal slaying of seven pachyderms inside the Nagarhole National Park; in Banare
Kere, Segadi Katte Kere, Eechur Kadu, Anegallu pare, Moorkal, Parthada Kada, and Kallala (See appended Table for details),
which have not been reported as on date. The poachers have exhibited their unrestrained
cruelty, by sequestering themselves behind chosen bamboo clumps, and ambushing
the pachyderms using deadly weapons, even as the unsuspecting tuskers approached the bamboo clumps with their majestic pride
and dignity. No sooner the tortured trumpets of the fatally injured elephant
died down, the poachers accomplished the task of tusk extraction in a jiffy, using a rusty saws. Their actions are profoundly repugnant to describe and even more distasteful, is the shameless growth in
the demand for the ivory in many Asian countries. In a rather related development, news papers have reported the seizure of atleast four large sized tusks, in Bangalore, Shimoga and Mangalore during September
Evidences being overlooked
and again, INCERT and other organizations have offered the cogent evidences of the killings, as also the large-scale plunder
of the forest wealth. But there
has to be someone with elementary responsibility, if not accountability, to investigate
further and search for solutions to put an end to this thoughtless slaughter and senseless plunder. But sadly, the authorities
are overlooking these evidences and on the contrary, are trying hard to all but smother the few available nuggets of factual
information furnished by the investigating teams.
Ministers Clarion Call and the need for Introspection
our Prime minister has given the clarion call to rededicate ourselves to the national task of conservation of our invaluable
natural heritage...Wildlife Week, which coincides with the birth centenary of Mahatma Gandhi, is a fitting occasion for
us to reflect that all nature is a continuum and if humankind has any special place at all, it lies in the role of trustee
of the well-being of all creatures, great and small....Nevertheless, in the past several decades, neglect of nature conservation
has resulted in deforestation, species loss and depletion of wildlife habitat. These trends must be urgently reversed by ensuring
that all development activities, the imperative of nature conservation is kept in mind. This will require the support, participation
and vigilance of people from all walks of life.
As citizens of India should we continue to remain as mere spectators and
bystanders to these increasing illegal activities? Time for introspection and retrospection is Now.