Guwahati: In the most gruesome form of animal abuse, a 15-year-old pregnant elephant died in Kerala recently after eating a pineapple filled with firecrackers. The fruit exploded in its mouth, which led to its tragic death.
Forest officials suspect that the elephant, which was supposed to give birth in a few months, ate the fruit kept as a snare to capture wild boars or in some cases to keep wild elephants at bay. The incident is believed to have taken place two weeks ago in an area bordering Palakkad and Malappuram districts of the southern state.
The wild elephant was from the Silent Valley National Park (SVNP) in Palakkad and had supposedly wandered off in search of food. As it was hungry, it came across the cracker-laden fruit which injured her grievously. Its tongue, upper and lower jaws were mangled due to the cracker explosion, said reports.
Mohanan Krishnan, the section forest officer in Nilambur, was part of the rapid response team in charge of rescuing the elephant. On his Facebook post, he wrote, “She was probably hungry and pacing back and forth in search of food, maybe thinking about the child in her womb. She was probably unable to eat food with her torn mouth. She reached a village in search of more food. But, even with that agonising pain, she did not destroy any houses or injure any person. She was a good animal.”
On May 27, when the rapid response team reached the spot, the elephant was seen in the Velliyar River in Malappuram. It had its mouth and trunk immersed in the water to keep away flies and other worms and was very frail and weak with its stomach shrunken. By the time the rescue team prepared to bring the elephant ashore, it passed away in a standing position at 4 pm the same day.
After a post-mortem, it was found that the immediate cause of its death was suffocation as its lungs were filled with water. Additionally, with its jaws mangled, it was unable to have food or water and there was a maggot infestation as well.
The elephant along with its unborn fetus was cremated on the same day.
Social media was filled with posts and tweets by netizens enraged by this act of cruelty. Actor Randeep Hooda took to Twitter to voice out his opinion:
Author cum journalist Sagarika Ghose also expressed her views on this disheartening incident: