The seizure of two elephant tusks from a man in Chennamanakere Achukattu on Sunday has set off alarm bells among the police and the forest department that the notorious elephant-poaching Anchetty gang may have struck again.
Posing as buyers, Chennamanakere Achukattu police caught Kumar red-handed when he was trying to sell two tusks for a huge amount. Kumar, 26, is a native of Salem in Tamil Nadu.
Deputy commissioner of police (south) BS Lokesh Kumar told Bangalore Mirror, “Each tusk weighed 5 kilograms and 30 inches long. We are inquiring from where he got them.”
Sources in the police department suspect Kumar was acting as a conduit for buyers and sellers — the Anchetty gang which is said to be active in forests of Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border areas. Police suspect the ivory seized from Kumar belongs to an adult elephant that was shot dead in the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary.
Members of Anchetty gang are believed to be the descendants of forest brigand Veerappan. In fact, the gang is suspected to be the source of ivory seized in Bengaluru in the last two years. Sharath R Babu, honorary wildlife warden, Bengaluru Urban, told Bangalore Mirror, “In July 2013, Hebbagodi police seized six tusks of elephants aged between 15-18 years and poached by the Anchetty gang. Last June, two tusks were seized by Anekal police from two persons who again hailed from Anchetty. Sunday’s seizure may also have originated from Anchetty.”