Investigations reveal elephant killed for its tusks, 2 suspects remanded
Two villagers in the Udawalawe area have been arrested and produced in the Wellawaya Magistrate's court over the killing of Mugalan, police said.
The suspects identified as Tennakoon Mudiyanselage Ku l atunga Banda and Abeysekara Chandrasena we r e remanded until December 19.
Acting Officer in Charge ( OIC) S. D Dissanayake said their investigations have revealed that the suspects had killed the tusker to obtain its tusks.
“We have found evidence that the suspects had shoved pieces of metal into a muzzleloader gun to shoot the tusker. The mettle particles were extracted from the gunshot wound," he said.
The officer said the arrests were made on information obtained from Special Task Force officials and police intelligence.
He said the trap gun set up by the two suspects had been found and investigations are continuing to find the “muz- zleloader gun” that was used to shoot the animal.
“They shot a protected animal which was inside protected park," said Udawalawe head park ranger R. A. D. D. D Samaranayake, adding that they were also conducting their own investigation.
He said their probe revealed that only two shots had been fired to kill the tusker so as not to alert wildlife officials.
Mr Samaranayake said the tusker had been shot from the direction of the main road.
Further explaining, he said in most incidents where the animal is targetted for its tusks, poachers usually shoot randomly at tuskers who come towards the park boundary. The poachers then follow the injured animal who heads in to the park and once it dies they collect the tusks.
“This time however the shot was fired at close range and directed at a sensitive point killing the animal on the sport," he said, adding that the suspects would be charged under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance as they had committed a serious offence.
Mugalan shot at close range. Pix by Rahul S. Hettiarachchi
Wildlife officials at the scene of the crime last week