Actors Anushka Sharma, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar and Randeep Hooda were among those who took to social media to condemn the killing.

Pregnant elephant dies in Kerala after eating firecracker laden fruitFacebook/MohanKrishnan
news Animal cruelty Wednesday, June 03, 2020 - 15:47

The death of a pregnant elephant in Kerala after she ate a pineapple laden with firecrackers has sparked massive outrage across the country. A case has been filed against unknown offenders and a search is underway to locate them. 

According to forest officials, the wild elephant had allegedly wandered out of the Silent Valley National Park (SVNP) in Palakkad, in search of food. When the animal allegedly bit into the fruit stuffed with firecrackers, she was grievously injured. Her upper and lower jaws, as well as her tongue, were mangled. The elephant was found in the Velliyar river in Palakkad, hunched, with her head bent into the water.

The incident has sparked a massive row and animal activists, as well as wildlife enthusiasts, have demanded strong action against those who leave behind such traps to kill wild animals who travel in search of food. Many have also called upon stricter rules to protect wild animals.

Also read: Killing of pregnant elephant in Kerala: FIR lodged against unidentified offenders

The international animal welfare charity, World Animal Protection, has written to Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and local authorities seeking swift and strong action against the culprits.

“World Animal Protection notes with anguish the news of a pregnant elephant allegedly being fed with a cracker laden pineapple in Palakkad district in Kerala. We strongly condemn this cruel act and strongly urge the authorities to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice. We should be protecting and cherishing our wild animals, not inflicting torture on them like this,” Gajender K Sharma, Country Director of World Animal Protection India, said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

“Elephants are India’s heritage animals and they deserve to be treated with care and dignity. Such acts of violence and torture against these sentient creatures is another example that proves wild animals belong in the wild,” the statement added. 

The Humane Society International, India has offered a reward of up to Rs 50,000 for information about the accused and their arrest and conviction.

“Conflict with wild animals, including wild boars, is not new and needs systemic changes in wildlife management that can address this meaningfully. However, crop loss caused by wild animals in conflict is no justification for community members taking law into their hands and seeking to maim or kill animals in question,” Sumanth Bindumadhav, the campaign manager for wildlife at HSI India said. 

The statement by HSI India added that sustainable conflict preparedness and management planning methods need to be employed by the forest departments across states to ensure citizens do not take matters into their own hands.

“Incidents like this stress upon the need to improve the government systems of ex-gratia payment and the need for crop insurance schemes that will safeguard the interest of communities while not compromising on the welfare of animals. We encourage anyone who knows anything about the accused to report to us. Your name will be anonymous if requested. We truly hope the accused in this case is apprehended so it sends a strong message to the community,” the HSI India statement added.

Thiruvananthapuram Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted that the government must bring these criminals to book to preserve its reputation for protecting nature.

Actor Anushka Sharma too took to her social media accounts to condemn the incident and called for stricter laws against animal cruelty. Sharing an article about the incident on her Instagram story, she wrote, “This is why we need harsher laws against animal cruelty!!”

Actor Randeep Hooda wrote on Twitter, “An act most #inhumane to will fully feed a pineapple full of firecrackers to friendly wild pregnant #Elephant is just unacceptable..strict action should be taken against the culprits  sir @vijayanpinarayi @CMOKerala @PrakashJavdekar @moefcc @ntca_india.”

A forest officer told TNM that in forest ranges, normally, to prevent wild animals from invading or entering cultivated areas, people illegally use two-feet-high fences laden with explosives to catch wild boars. 

“Sometimes, its thorny edges poke its body when it comes near, and due to its body’s pressure, the crackers strategically tied to these fences might explode. There is another illegal practice where people leave fruits with poison or such bombs,” KK Sunil Kumar, Mannarkkad Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), told TNM.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A pregnant elephant was fed cracker stuffed pineapple by unidentified people in Kerala which exploded in her mouth and damaged her jaw. She walked around the village and finally passed away standing in a river. We keep searching for monsters hoping they would be having the devil's horns on their heads. But look around you, the monsters walk beside you. From anybody who throws stones at a stray dog to anybody hurting a living soul, choose one face. A lot of these animals trust human beings because they have been helped by them in the past. This is cruel beyond measure. When you lack empathy and kindness, you do not deserve to be called a human being. To hurt someone is not human. Just stricter laws won't help. We need a decent execution of the law too. Until the guilty are punished in the worst possible way, these wicked monsters will never fear the law. Though it's a difficult task, I hope they are able to find out the one who committed this crime and punish them accordingly. Artwork by Bratuti. Post reposted from @tedthestoner

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