A pregnant wild elephant died after eating a pineapple filled with firecrackers in Malappuram, India.
The 15-year-old elephant was believed to be looking for food for its calf when it came upon the pineapple, which was allegedly used as a trap by farmers to protect their crops from wild boars.
Mohan Krishnan, a forest officer from Nilambur and member of the Rapid Response Team, first spoke about the animal on Facebook. He spotted the elephant standing in the Velliyar River and asked other forest officials to rescue her.
Two Kumki elephants named Surendran and Neelakantan was brought in to help pull the injured mother elephant back to shore, but it was too late. She passed away before she reached the land.
Dr. David Abraham’s autopsy report showed the animal had died due to asphyxia, where water had leaked into her lungs and trachea.
“I have so far done more than 250 postmortems of elephants alone in my more than two decades career. But this was the first time I was so moved as I could hold the [fetus[ of the baby in my hands,” the doctor said.
“Initially, none o us was aware that the elephant was pregnant,” he added. “After I had seen its heart and then happened to see the amniotic fluid did I realize that it’s pregnant.”
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan promised to take a “strict action” against the people responsible. Capturing, trapping, poisoning or baiting of any wild animal carry a fine up to ₹25,000 or up to seven years jail term.
“The department is of the view that this is an intentional act to kill the elephant. We have registered the case against unknown offenders and very soon you will hear of the arrests,” Chief Wildlife Warden Surendra Kumar told NDTV in an interview.
This is not a single case of wildlife death due to eating food with firecrackers inside. In April, another female elephant died in forests in the Kollam district. Her jaw was fractured, indicating that crackers could have been the reason. Now, officials are awaiting results.
You might want to read:
– Elephants used to carry tourists were “set free” as parks closed due to coronavirus pandemic
– A ride to forget: The dark side of elephant tourism
– Denmark government buys last four circus elephants to retire them