Pradeep Pattanayak

The Athagarh DFO would also be brought into the purview of investigation in connection with the recovery of two elephant skeletons from Badamba forest in Cuttack district. 

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Odisha Shashi Paul on Monday said that the investigation into the incident of recovery of elephant skeletons from Badamba forest is going on and if required, the Athagarh DFO would also be brought into its purview. 

“Stringent action would be taken against the two foresters who are absconding now. Besides departmental action, they would also be booked under the Wildlife Protection Act,” informed Paul. 

Notably, forester Manoj Das, who was summoned to the DFO office for questioning, fled from the spot by scaling the boundary wall.

Another forester identified as Pradeep Parida from the division has also been absconding since the recovery of jumbo carcasses. 

Regarding the health condition of the ailing elephant and its treatment in Narasinghapur forest range, Paul said the treatment is in right track. 

“Initially, Narasinghapur veterinary officer was treating the sick elephant. Then Nandankanan and Satkosia teams joined in. Them apart, a team from OUAT was also sent to the spot the day before yesterday. According to the OUAT team, the pachyderm’s health condition is stable,” informed Paul. 

“I visited the spot and from the nature of wounds, I could deduce it that the person who fired at the animal might have done so to save himself or something else,” said Paul. 

“We believe the involvement of a local person in this case. He will soon be found out. Since the area  share borders with Dhenkanal , Satkosia and Athagarh, a joint team comprising officers of these three divisions has been formed to investigate into the incident. While the Athagarh DFO is the chairman of this joint team, ACFs of Athagarh, Satkosia and Dhenkanal are its members,” added Paul. 

Notably, in connection with the recovery of elephant skeletons, five Forest department employees have so far been suspended.