Outrage as jumbo killed by feeding it cracker-filled fruit
A 15-year-old pregnant elephant died in Kerala’s Malappuram after it ate a pineapple laden with firecrackers last week, forest officials said and added they were investigating the incident that has triggered outrage.
The incident came to light on May 27 when Mohan Krishnan, a forest officer, wrote a Facebook post after witnessing the death. The elephant rushed to nearby Velliyar river after eating the fruit and died there even as forest officials rushed to rescue it. The crackers exploded when the elephant chomped on the pineapple.
Kerala’s chief wildlife warden, Surendra Kumar, said the elephant’s jaw was broken. “Our investigation is on and we will question locals,” said Kumar. He added strict charges under the Wildlife Protection Act, which provides for up to seven years in prison, will be slapped on culprits. Officials said post-mortem report described asphyxia as the cause of death as water entered its lungs.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has directed the wildlife crime investigation team to probe the incident. Humane Society International India’s wildlife campaign manager Sumanth Bindumadhav cited crop damage by animals for attacks but said that is no justification for maiming or killing them. Senior environment ministry officials said environment minister Prakash Javadekar has sought report from state and strict action.