Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

Forest officials in Athagarh have landed in trouble for allegedly burying an elephant, who had died of gunshot injuries, secretly at midnight without informing the higher ups in the department. 

As per reports, the carcass of a tusker was found on August 27, 2020, in Subasi forest of Athagarh district. The male elephant had been shot at believably by poachers and died subsequently. However, it is alleged that the local Forest officials buried the carcass of the majestic animal in a hurry without informing the higher officials. 

When the Regional Chief Conservator of Forests (RCCF) learnt about the incident, he launched a probe. He also ordered action against the local staff on the grounds of dereliction of duty. As per procedure, if a wild animal is killed by poachers, the matter should first be reported to the higher authorities to facilitate further probe.  However, the local staff failed to follow the protocol and secretly buried the carcass at midnight, the RCCF’s preliminary findings revealed.

The RCCF has also ordered an investigation to identify the person/s involved in the killing of the elephant and unravel the death mystery.

"The carcass of the elephant was buried without the knowledge of the department seniors and few officials were involved in the disposal of the carcass. We have launched an investigation and almost identified the prime accused in the department who had buried the tusker. We will take strict action once we get a confirmation," said Akshay Pattnaik, RCCF, Bhubaneswar.

"However, the tusks of the elephant have been found intact and we have obtained certain evidence relevant to the case. We will soon solve the mystery," he said.