Resort Owner Gets Elephant Killed in Wayanad, Kerala
A resort owner has got an elephant killed in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) in Kerala to warn Forest officials after they sought to cancel the licences of illegal resorts near the sanctuary and take action against Mikara Resort in Muthanga. In May, a a female elephant, aged 13 years, was found dead with bullet injuries near the Sulthan Bathery-Perikkallur State highway that passes through Kurichiad range of the sanctuary.
Police said a gang headed by Shaji, who owns many resorts in the region, camped in the forest on 29th May to hunt the elephant. While questioning, Shaji told the police that the decision to hunt the elephant was taken amidst stern government actions against resorts violating rules.
The carcass was found in a kneeling posture and had a bullet injury on the left side of its head. Days later, the Kerala police arrested an eight-member group from Jungle Days resort in Wayanad district along with guns and bullets. The investigation later found the involvement of Shaji, who reportedly led the group on that night.
WWS warden P Dhaneshkumar had written to District Collector arguing to cancel the licences of illegal resorts near the sanctuary and take action against Mikara Resort in Muthanga. Police said the move of WWS warden believed to have prompted the resort mafia to kill the elephant inside the forest.
According to police, Shaji is also part of the gangs that provides game meat for the resorts. Officials recovered a lead bullet, suspected to have caused the elephant’s death, from its skull during the autopsy.