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Elephant Who Ate Firecracker Filled Pineapple Walked For Days In Pain

Date Added: June 04, 2020 12:40:42 AM
Author: Sutra Web Directory
Category: Regional: India

No arrests have been made a week after a pregnant elephant died in Kerala's Palakkad district, standing in a river. She had eaten a pineapple stuffed with crackers, allegedly placed by some locals. The death of the elephant and the trauma she went through has caused a huge outrage, with thousands calling for strong action against the perpetrators.
The police have launched a probe to catch the culprits and have filed a First Information Report against unknown persons. The incident came to light after a forest officer narrated the details of the horrific death on social media.

"Strict action will be taken against those who are responsible for killing the pregnant elephant. The forest department is probing the case and the culprits will be brought to book," Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

Officials now suspect that the elephant ate the fruit either in the end of April or the beginning of May. "We don't know when the incident happened. But because of the starvation and shrinking of the elephant, we suspect that it would have happened around 20 days ago," forest officer Aashique Ali U told NDTV.

The elephant's autopsy report came out only yesterday.

The wild elephant had left the forest of Silent Valley, meandering into a nearby village in search of food.

Pineapples with country-made crackers are usually used by locals to protect their fields against wild boars. According to forest officials, the elephant is suspected to have eaten one of the pineapples.

The fruit exploded in her mouth, leading to the inevitable tragedy.

So powerful was the cracker explosion in her mouth that her tongue and mouth were badly injured. The elephant walked around in the village for days, in searing pain and in hunger. She was unable to eat anything because of her injuries. She even went back into the wild.

Officials got to know about the elephant only on May 25, two days before she died.

The elephant eventually walked up to the Velliyar River and stood there. Photos showed the elephant standing in the river with her mouth and trunk in water, perhaps for some relief from the unbearable pain. Forest officer Mohan Krishnan, who narrated the details and shared the photos on Facebook, said she must have done this to avoid flies and other insects on her injuries.

The forest officials brought two captive elephants, who were called Surendran and  Neelakanthan, to lead her out of the river.

After attempts by the officials to rescue the elephant, she died at 4 pm on May 27, standing in water.

The elephant was taken back inside the forest in a truck, where the forest officials cremated her.

Dr David Abraham, Assistant Forest Veterinary Officer, Thrissur, who did the postmortem told TNIE that on first observation itself it was clear that the elephant would not survive. The forest officials wanted to euthanize the elephant which was in severe agony. But unfortunately, the message from the top echelons of forest department was to return it back to the SVNP.

“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 foetus of the baby in my hands. Initially, none of us was aware that the elephant was pregnant. After I had seen its heart and then happened to see the amniotic fluid did I realize that it’s pregnant”, said Dr David Abraham.

Another senior forest official told TNIE that this is not the first time an elephant met its death due to explosion in its mouth caused due to crude country bombs or firecrackers being used in snares to catch wild boars by people afraid of destroying its vegetation.

During April also, another wild elephant in Pathanapuram in Kollam district had died in similar circumstances. But the latest incident in Palakkad is more touching as in another 22 months it would have delivered a calf elephant. Samuel Pachuau, Wildlife Warden, SVNP, told TNIE that already a probe is on into the incident which saw the elephant dying under tragic circumstances. 

“We have increased our intelligence networking as well as boundary patrolling as the incident has happened between the park (which is on the buffer zone) and the plantation areas,” said Samuel Pachuau.