The author Ameen Ahmed with the elephant tusk recovered from the forest floor near Sugalhatti
I was in one of the teams of the Elephant Census 2007. Near Sugalhatti in Bhadra Tiger Reserve, one of the participating teams recovered a lone elephant tusk from the forest floor. It measured about 6-feet long from its root. The forest department officials suspected that a male Asian elephant might have lost this in a fight with another of its kind, or that it may have detached from its body after its death and transported by natural elements or other animals. The tusk seemed to be pretty much lying in the same position for at least a few months – a good sign that there is less human interference in the jungles of Bhadra Tiger Reserve. I believed that the tusk not come from a poached elephant for many reasons;
- There was no carcass or skeleton nearby.
- The side on which the tusk was lying was weathered (undergone changes due to physical elements), hence the conclusion that the tusk may have been lying around for a few months.
- No poacher worth his salt would leave such a freely available huge tusk in the forest. If a poacher/s could manage to bring down an elephant after entering the forest, it should not be difficult for him/them to transport the tusk/s out of the forests.
Located in the south-western corner of India, the Bhadra Tiger Reserve encompasses the thick tropical woods of the famed Jagara Valley, and is known for its one-tusked male elephants.