After the death of the pregnant elephant in Kerala’s Palakkad, another wild elephant is suspected to have been killed in the state by an explosive snare in Kollam’s Pathanapuram forest range.
TNM spoke to the Range Officer, Pathanapuram who said that the 10-month old female elephant was found with injuries in April this year, in its mouth, and had died after it strayed from its herd.
“Investigation into its death is on. Right now, we have registered a case of unnatural death and have taken the samples from the wounded part of her mouth for clinical analysis. Only after receiving this analysis report can we confirm if the cause of death was an explosion,” the Range Forest Officer added.
While some media reports stated that the elephant in Kollam too was pregnant, the officer confirmed that the elephant’s post mortem result established that it was not pregnant.
“It was unfortunate because the elephant had wandered away from its herd and died right in front of me during a routine check. When we examined it, we found injury marks in its mouth and suspect that an explosive could have caused the death,” Surendra Kumar, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden told Mirror Now. (pls link the video)
Reports of the elephant’s death emerged amid the controversy raging over the death of a pregnant wild elephant, who bit into a fruit stuffed with explosives in the forest ranges between Palakkad and Malappuram.
The elephant died in the Velliyar river, after entering the water possibly to soothe its injured tongue and jaws. The river, which originates in Palakkad, flows to Malappuram. The elephant was found Kottopadam in Palakkad.
A Special Investigation Team led by Palakkad Superintendent of Police G Siva Vikram IPS has now been formed to prove the death of the pregnant elephant. According to investigating officials, the elephant could have been injured between May 13 and 17, at least two weeks before its post mortem. This timeline makes it even more difficult to identify and round up the accused.
According to sources, the elephant was found in an injured state in the silent valley reserve on May 13. By May 23, it was found near the forest area of Ambalapara in Palakkad and on May 25, it finally entered the river where it later passed away, refusing to step out.
According to the post mortem report, which TNM accessed, the elephant had died due to a soft explosion. Based on this report a First Information Report (FIR) has been registered in the Mannarkad police stations under sections of the Explosive Act 1884 and The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
Another aspect which creates a challenge in the investigation is the fact that the forest ranges between Malappuram and Palakkad are filled with massive plantations where explosives snares are a regular feature, deployed to cull wild boars for meat, officers told TNM.