Taking cognizance of the inhuman and atrocious act of killing a pregnant elephant in Kerala’s Malappuram, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has sought a complete report on the incident and assured to take stern action against the culprit. Describing it an act against the ‘Indian Culture’, he said that the government would leave no stone unturned to nab the culprits.
As the incident triggered outrage, the Kerala government on Wednesday said that a wildlife crime investigation team will probe into the brutal killing of the pregnant wild elephant. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said a preliminary investigation has been launched into the death of the elephant in Mannarkad Forest division in Palakkad district and the police directed to take stringent action against those responsible for the act.
Under the Wildlife Protection Act, capturing, trapping, poisoning, or baiting of any wild animal or even attempting to do so carry a fine of up to ₹25,000 or a jail term of up to seven years, or both.
Reportedly, the elephant had consumed a pineapple filled with powerful firecrackers which exploded in her mouth in the Silent Valley Forest. She died a week later i.e. on 27th May at Velliyar River after efforts by forest personnel to bring it to the river bank using two other trained elephants failed. The post-mortem revealed that the elephant was pregnant. Her jaw was broken and she was unable to eat after she chewed the pineapple and it exploded in her mouth. 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 the water, perhaps for some relief from the unbearable pain.
The incident came to light after Mohan Krishnan, a forest officer, posted an emotional note on his Facebook page, narrating the elephant’s death in the waters of Velliyar River. “When we saw her, she was standing in the river, with her head dipped in the water. She had a sixth sense that she was going to die. She took the Jalasamadhi in the river in a standing position,” Krishnan, who was part of the Rapid Response Team to rescue the elephant, wrote on Facebook. “She didn’t harm a single human being even when she ran in searing pain in the streets of the village. She didn’t crush a single home. This is why I said, she is full of goodness,” he added in an emotional note written in Malayalam.
Soon after the incident came to light, a national outrage broke out with various people seeking justice for the animal. People took to social media to share artworks of their interpretation of the incident, with some calling this a gross violation of animal rights and asked authorities to take strict action against the culprits.
Taking cognizance of the inhuman act of killing a pregnant elephant in Kerala’s Malappuram, a national outrage broke wherein people shared artworks of their interpretation of the incident, with some calling this a gross violation of animal rights.#KeralaElephantMurder #Kerala pic.twitter.com/cTscivqJN6
— B&B Associates LLP (@bnb_legal) June 4, 2020
Industrialist Ratan Tata compared the killing to a “meditated murder”, and sought justice for the animal. “I am grieved and shocked to know that a group of people caused the death of an innocent, passive, pregnant elephant by feeding it a pineapple filled with firecrackers,” tweeted Mr. Ratan Tata.
Various other celebrities including Anushka Sharma, John Abraham, Shraddha Kapoor, Randeep Hooda demanded strict action against animal cruelty.
“An act most #inhumane to willfully feed a pineapple full of firecrackers to friendly wild pregnant #Elephant is just unacceptable…strict action should be taken against the culprits’ sir,” tweeted Randeep Hooda. Also, John Abraham shared the news report on Instagram and captioned it: “Shame on us. Ashamed to be human.”
Meanwhile, Lok Sabha MP and vocal animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi alleged that Mallapuram is known for ‘intense criminal activity’ against animals. She took to Twitter questioning the inaction of the authorities and alleged that no action has been taken against a single poacher or wildlife killer which has allowed them to carry on with such acts.
“It’s murder, Malappuram is famous for such incidents, it’s India’s most violent district, for instance, they throw poison on roads so that 300-400 birds and dogs die at one time,” stated Maneka Gandhi.
On the other hand, few suspected that the elephant died by accident as such practices are common among farmers in forest fringe areas to keep wild animals from damaging their crops, besides preventing them from entering into their habitats.