One Shot, One Kill: Poison Bullets
A disturbing story was recently published in The Telegraph (Calcutta, India) about a new poaching technique that could be one of the deadliest yet. Recently, police recovered 10 improvised single-barrelled muzzle guns (SBMGs) with several rounds of poison-tipped bullets from a farmhouse located on the fringe of Nameri National Park in the Sonitpur district.
Naba Bora, The officer in-charge of Jamugurihat police, was quoted as saying that one of the poison bullets could kill an elephant or a rhino with one shot, regardless of where it hit. Normally poachers must shoot an animal through the head or in other vital organs located between the two front legs. Even if the shot does not bring down the animal in these cases, the wounds will succumb to infection and ultimately cause the death of the animal. However, when combined with poison, a single bullet can cause death via poisoning within 10 minutes.
The practice of poisoned bullets seems to be a knew idea to officials. Although the practice has been used since ancient times, with poison blow darts being used to kill small prey. Another complication that was not mentioned directly in the article could be similar to the Furadan phenomenon. If a poacher kills an elephant or rhino with the poison bullets, they will proceed to cut of the horn or tusks of the animal, leaving the infected carcass behind. Subsequently, other animals would feed on the dead carcass, possibly become poisoned second hand.
“It is a well-knit gang of poachers with international connections,” the police official said. He added that most of the gang members are from Nagaland and Manipur.
“The gang has local connections and charts out its plans at these small farmhouses on the fringes of the park,” he said.
If the suspicions hold true, and the gang is of the internationally variety, it may be nearly impossible to track the weapons or ammunition back to the hunters.
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