Friday, May 15, 2009

Traders suspect in ivory racket

KUMUD JENAMANI
Jamshedpur, May 15: A section of traders in Chaibasa is involved in tusker poaching and ivory smuggling at Saranda and Chaibasa south forest division in West Singhbhum district, according to sources in the intelligence.

Forest officials say that though smuggling of ivory is not the main business of these people, they earn a good amount through this illegal trade. More than one gang is suspected to be involved in conspiring, poaching and, subsequent, smuggling of ivory in Saranda and adjoining forests in West Singhbhum and bordering Sundergarh district of Orissa.

Ever since four tuskers were killed in Saranda and South Chaibasa a year ago, the forest authorities have started making frantic efforts to find the gang responsible.

Due to Naxalite activity in Saranda, investigations became difficult and forest officials decided to approach the intelligence bureau.

Saranda divisional forest officer (DFO) S.R. Natesh said they had made enough progress in detecting the gangs involved in ivory smuggling.

“It was established that prominent businessmen and influential persons are involved in the smuggling. We will disclose their names after getting concrete evidence,” said Natesh, adding that the businessmen in question were perpetuating the racket through separate links.

Sources in the forest department claimed that the number of elephants that fell victim to poachers was far bigger than what meets the eye. They added that the department would bring the menace to an end soon.

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