Thrissur: Guruvayur Devaswom (GD) on Friday suspended three of its mahouts who were arrested by the Forest Departments flying squad on Thursday from near the Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary while smuggling ivory.
The suspended mahouts are Puthiyaparambil Preman of Thamarayur, Ganesh Kumar of Kullappully and Ushakumar of Cherthala.
Acting on a tip-off, Ernakulam Flying Squad members led by DFO O G Prasad had arrested the mahouts on Thursday and six pieces of ivory weighing a total of 5.5 kg were seized from the trio.
Devaswom Officials said that as the ivory was not from any of the GD’s elephants, the Forest Department would conduct the inquiry.
DFO Suyog Patil told DC that the arrested persons were sent to judicial custody by the Thrissur Magistrate Court and the Forest Officials would soon take the trio into their custody to investigate the source and the forward link of the smuggled ivory.
“They have said that the ivory was brought from a person in Kollam and we are on the lookout for him,’ he added.
Meanwhile, Heritage Animal Task Force, a pro-animal organization based here has asked the Wildlife Control Bureau to conduct testing of the ivory. “Going by the shape of the ivory seized, there is a possibility of it being taken from elephants outside Kerala. The pointed part of the seized pieces of ivory are not as sharp as normally seen on elephants in the state,” V K Venkitachalam, general secretary of the task force said....