TN plans audit framework for jumbo deaths
SV Krishna Chaitanya, The New Indian Express
May 13, 2022
In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the State government on Thursday
constituted a four-member panel to put in place an Elephant Death Audit
Framework (EDAF) to carefully assess, document and examine the cause and
circumstances related to each wild elephant death in Tamil Nadu.
A central database will be used to generate patterns for framing
appropriate policy and taking field-level decisions. The GO was issued by
Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Environment,
Climate Change and Forests Department.
The GO mandates the committee of Akash Deep Baruah, Additional Principal
Chief Conservator of Forests (Project Tiger); Deepak Bilgi, Conservator of
Forests and Field Director, Megamalai Tiger Reserve; K Rajkumar, Special
Secretary (Forests), and H Dileep Kumar, Deputy Director, Megamalai Tiger
Reserve, Srivilliputhur to develop the framework within five working days.
The panel can co-opt domain experts like forest veterinary officers,
biologists, and Wildlife Institute of India for developing the framework.
‘Documentation Crucial to Get to Root Cause of Death’
“A systematic necropsy examination gives information about the mode of
death and provides valuable legal evidence in cases of poaching. It is also
an important tool for monitoring the health of elephants. A proper
diagnosis of the cause of death provides information required for planning
preventive and remedial measures,” the GO said.
“We want to look into the events and circumstances that lead to the death
of an elephant, which may provide important clues on diseases, ageing or
human-elephant conflict. The framework will spell out in detail what
information should be gathered by field personnel and documented in case of
The forensic, postmortem and circumstantial evidence will be collected and
correlated before concluding the cause of death and fixing accountability,”
Sahu told TNIE, adding wild elephants need protection against poaching and
diseases and that the entire audit exercise will be documented digitally
for easy access and analyses.
M Ananda Kumar, a scientist at the Nature Conservation Foundation, said
scientific documentation of wildlife deaths is crucial to get to the root
of the problem. A Wildlife Crime Control Bureau report had also
specifically highlighted instances of underreporting of poaching cases and
deliberate allowing of key accused to go scot-free, especially in the
“For the murder of three elephants during three different times in the same
range by the same gang only one case was registered against it at Sigur
Range of the division. Only two or three persons’ names were mentioned as
accused. Though the statement of the accused is very clear about the people
involved, their names were not included as accused and cases framed were
very week,” the WCCB report said.