Elephants are among the endangered species in India. Over the years, with demand for ivory, tuskers have been particularly targeted and killed. Despite laws, and bans in place, ivory poaching still continues. When male tuskers are poached for the ivory trade, it also threatens the future population of elephants.
In 2015, an ivory kingpin was nabbed in New Delhi for procuring tusks and creating artefacts out of it, and exporting them discreetly. The massive effort by the name Operation Shikar was all in the media limelight.
For this story, Sharada Balasubramanian, an environment and development journalist, travelled to Trivandrum, Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala, Thekkady and spoke to Jose Louise, Director, Wildlife Trust of India, Dr Surendra Varma, Asian elephant scientist, Manu Sathyan who was the DFO at Periyar Tiger Reserve, and Sajesh Kumar, ACF, and part of Forest Intelligence Unit or FIC. The various sources in the story spoke extensively on various aspects of poaching and wildlife laws prevalent in the system.
This investigation is part of a series on environmental crime in Asia, supported by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, the Henry Nxumalo Foundation and Oxpeckers Investigative Environmental Journalism."