The Kerala Forest department has launched a 'manhunt' for those responsible for the death of a 15-year-old pregnant wild elephant, said an official.. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, June 5 : Following the gruesome death of a pregnant elephant in India's Kerala district, after the animal consumed a pineapple filled with crackers according to a forest official's Facebook post, outrage has poured in from the entire country, with animal- and wildlife-related bodies condemning the incident.

It is reported that this incident happened due to the consumption of a pineapple stuffed with firecrackers by a pregnant elephant, which then burst in her mouth and disfigured her jaw. The elephant is reported to have crossed the plantations between the Mannarkad Range & The Silent Valley National Park (SVNP) and later died in a nearby river trying to nurse her injuries. The Kerala Forest Department made all efforts to rescue her from the river using trained elephants. However, despite all endeavours the wounded elephant mother, along with her unborn calf, could not be saved, WWF India said in a statement condemning the death of the elephant on May 27, 2020.

It has strongly requested the Kerala Forest Department and local authorities to thoroughly investigate this matter and ensure that those responsible for this gruesome act are held accountable under the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and any applicable law so that such practices are not repeated in the future.

The fruit stuffed with firecrackers is reportedly used for chasing away animals, such as wild boars.

According to People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, this is not the first time an elephant died due to an explosion from crude bombs or firecrackers which are used in snares to catch other wild animals like wild boars.

"The animals are killed to protect crops, but ecological balance cannot be restored through violence. Anyone caught killing wild boars or any other wild animals must also be punished to the fullest extent of the law," PETA India said in a statement.

Krithi Karanth, National Geographic Explorer and Chief Conservation Scientist, Centre for Wildlife Studies told IANSlife: "Understanding and mitigating conflicts between people and wildlife is a conservation priority in India and the world. As a country, we report 80,000-100,000 incidents of crop and property damage, livestock predation, and human casualties to the government. Animals that are injured or killed in retaliation are unknown but elephants, tigers, and leopards are among the most persecuted apart from snakes. In the short term, we need to support people suffering from losses through compensation and mitigation through programs like Wild Seve. We should inculcate empathy and interest in wildlife through programs like Wild Shaale in children and adults, particularly those who live in close proximity to wildlife. This is not a problem that is going away."

(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at siddhi.j@ians.in)

-- Syndicated from IANS

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