More than a year after the massacre of more than a dozen elephants in Orissa’s Simlipal Tiger Reserve, the country’s fourth biggest tiger reserve, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has asked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to take urgent measures to safeguard the tigers in the state’s Similipal national park.
Similipal is one of India’s first Project Tiger reserves. Spread over 845.70 sq km, it is home to many Royal Bengal Tigers and elephants.
Between April and May last year, 14 elephants were slaughtered by poachers inside the tiger reserve situated in Mayurbhanj district of Orissa. A probe team from National Tiger Conservation Authority, which found seven elephant carcasses, in its report said the staff of the tiger reserve had burnt and destroyed the carcasses.
“There was a concerted effort to destroy the remains of the elephant carcasses, which amounts to destruction of evidence without registering a case. Although there is absolutely no evidence to suggest the involvement of forest staff in the actual killing of the elephants, the destruction of evidence and the fact that the elephant deaths were not reported by the staff, should be treated as a very serious matter,” the NTCA committee said in its report.