Jamshedpur, Feb. 19: After Palamau Tiger Reserve, a poacher alert has been sounded in Saranda where a tusker was shot five days ago.
According to forest sources, the tusker was felled by a gang of poachers at Sundergarh forest, which shares its border with Saranda.
The killers, suspected to be from adjoining areas in Odisha, sawed off the animal’s tusks and trunk.
In the light of the poaching, Saranda divisional forest officer K.K. Tiwary said the authorities were left with no option but to tighten security in the forest.
“The intelligence network in Saranda, especially on locations near Sundergarh forest, has been beefed up. Forest officials as well as members of the intelligence apparatus have been instructed to intercept and question any stranger if he is found indulging in anything suspect inside the forest,” he told The Telegraph.
Tiwary said forest officials rely on a bunch of villagers who keep track of outsiders and lone tuskers, which are usually targeted by poachers.
The vigilantes have been asked to remain alert in Saranda as the poachers who killed the tusker on February 14 are likely to be around.
“We have a network of few villagers who provide us information about the movement of suspected poachers in the interiors of the saal reserve. But if there is an incident of poaching, it is necessary to beef up security,” said the DFO.
Saranda shelters over 150 elephants, including a sizeable number of tuskers. There are a number of herds, many on the move between Sundergarh and Saranda.
On the modus operandi of poachers, the DFO said they scout for a lone tusker and kill it either by shooting poisonous arrows or firing bullets.
Since Saranda is spread over 850 sqkm, it is difficult to keep track of lone tuskers, a job done by a select group of villagers.The last poaching in Saranda was reported in 2007.