Elephant's ears torched in Tamil Nadu's Nilgiris, it dies; 2 arrested
Two men were arrested on Friday in connection with torching the ears of a 40-year-old wild elephant in Tamil Nadu's Nilgiris district. The elephant succumbed to his injuries on January 19.
Prasath, 36, and Raymond, 28, have been booked for offences under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
The horrific video of the incident has emerged showing the miscreants throwing a flaming cloth wrapped against wood on the jumbo. The animal can be seen with flames over his head and is running around trumpeting and in pain.
“This is heartbreaking and cruel. The action we take against them should serve as a deterrent,” said Nilgiris district collector J Innocent Divya.
Officials have also sealed a homestay that the duo was running.
Forest officials have been following the elephant since November. “It (the elephant) had an injury on its back and it was roaming around in human habitation and was not returning to the forest,” said LCS Srikanth, deputy director of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in Masinagudi.
The department had tranquilised the pachyderm in December. “But it was still weak and moving around very slowly,” said Srikanth.
Forest officials noticed serious injuries to its ear in the first week of January. On the 19th morning they tranquilised the elephant again to take it for treatment to a nearby camp. “It died when we were nearing the camp,” Srikanth said.
The post-mortem is complete and the report is awaited, the officials said.
Animal rights activists said that this cruelty was part of the larger problem of man-animal conflict.
“Resorts, factories have encroached forest and tribal lands and outsiders don’t understand animals,” said S Muralidharan, founder of Chennai-based Indian Centre for Animal Rights and Education (INCARE).
“This is a criminal act and punishments under the Wildlife (Protection) Act aren't severe. The court should take suo-motu cognisance of this; go out of the law books and pronounce stringent imprisonment so it serves as an example,” he added.
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